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Intellectual and Artistic Property law

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Law 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Property was passed on 5 December 1951, and entered into force on 1 January 1952. Basically, the British Law named ‘Statute of Anne’ of 1709 was the first law to regulate the rights pertaining to intellectual and artistic property. Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states ‘Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author’. The first and most important international regulation in this domain was the Berne Convention dated 1886, which Turkey is a party to. Turkish Law on Intellectual and Artistic Property was prepared in line with the provisions of the Berne Convention. The first Turkish regulation in this domain is ‘Telif Haklar─▒ Nizamnamesi’ (Copyrights Statute) dated 1857. This was followed by the Copyright Law passed in 1910. This Law subsequently failed to meet the needs of the times and was superseded by the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Property in 1951.

The Law on Intellectual and Artistic Property, which was updated in 1983, 1995, 2001, 2004 and 2008, aims at ‘regulating the conditions in line with which the economic and moral rights of authors creating intellectual and artistic works, and of related right holders shall be identified, protected and exploited, and stating sanctions to be applied in case of violation of such conditions’.

The Law contains provisions regarding types of property, the economic and moral rights of authors, restrictions to such rights, duration of protection, civil and criminal actions in case of violation, conditions concerning the establishment of collecting societies, liabilities and supervision of collecting societies as well as of right holders and their rights.

According to the Law, moral rights of authors comprise only: the authority to disclose the work to the public (article 14); the authority to designate the name (article 15); prohibition of modification (article 16), where economic rights of authors comprise only the right of derivation (article 21); rights of reproduction (article 22); rights of distribution (article 23); public performance rights (article 24) and the right to communicate a work to the public by devices enabling the transmission of signs, sounds and/or images (article 25). The duration of protection for authors’ economic rights is the life-span of the author plus seventy years. Another group of right holders whose rights are protected under the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Property is the related right holders listed in article 80. According to this article prepared in line with the related international conventions and EU directives, related right holders are those performing a work in an original manner, with the consent of the author, phonogram producers having made the first fixation of a sound, film producers having made the first fixation of a film, and radio-television broadcasters. In the event that the rights of authors or related right holders are violated, these rights can be protected through civil and/or criminal action. Conflicts arising from this Law are resolved through specialized courts. Intellectual and Industrial Rights Courts, which were established in 2001 to resolve such conflicts accurately and in a timely manner, have now exceeded 20 in number.

The amendments made aim at both bringing the law in line with the needs of the sector and in line with the EU legislation and international conventions. However, the Law contains some controversial provisions. For example, article 42 concerns the establishment of collecting societies. There may be several collecting societies in the same field. The regulation results in some problems in the establishment and operation of collecting societies. Studies are currently being undertaken which it is hoped will lead to amendments being made to the controversial provision.