Cablegate: Update On Copyright Enforcement: Culture

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Update on Copyright Enforcement: Culture
Minister Promises Measures to Curb Piracy

Ref: Ankara 4700


1. (SBU) Copyright industry representatives contend that
gaps in Turkish legislation and weak enforcement are
responsible for persistently high piracy. The Culture
and Tourism Minister promised the industry that the GOT
would take several steps to tackle the problem,
including a total ban on street sales of cultural
materials. This ban has been proposed before, but has
not been implemented. End Summary.

2. (U) In late September and October, Econoff met with
the following copyright industry representatives on
enforcement problems: Aydin Oskay, President of the
Music Producers Professional Union (Turkish Acronym MU-
YAP), Turkey's member of the International Federation of
the Phonographic Industry; Nilufer Sapancilar, Director
General of AMPEC, affiliated with the Motion Picture
Association; Murat Turhan, an attorney with the Turhan
and Turhan; Tugrul Pasaoglu, a member of the
Professional Association of Literary and Scientific
Works' Copyright Holders Professional Union (Turkish
acronym EDISAM); Erol Ozkur, Anti-Piracy Marketing
Manager for Microsoft; and Melih Ayracman, Managing
Director of Sony Music Turkey.

Weaknesses in Copyright Enforcement

3. (U) Our interlocutors maintain that copyright piracy
remains high - particularly for music, films and books -
due to gaps in Turkish legislation and significant
problems in enforcement and the judicial system. EDISAM
stated that the copyright law did not make piracy a
"public crime", which would allow the police to
intervene against pirates without a complaint by the
rightholder. Others pointed out that Turkey's courts
have chosen not to apply prison sentences, as provided
in Turkey's copyright law, against street vendors.
These pirates have instead been prosecuted under the
cinema law, with much weaker penalties. In practice,
Turkey's public prosecutors often fail to prosecute
pirates. As a result, the largest de facto sanction
remains confiscation of pirate materials by law
enforcement authorities.

4. (U) Several of our interlocutors criticized the GOT's
interagency provincial enforcement commissions as
ineffective. Pasaoglu told us these commissions were
functioning primarily in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, and
not at all in more remote provinces. MU-YAP agreed that
the commissions were not effective in combating piracy,
but argued that rightholder associations needed to give
them greater support as well.

5. (U) Ayracman, in a presentation to the Foreign
Investors Association (Turkish acronym YASED)
International Advisory Committee, also raised the
continuing problem of broadcast piracy, with most radio
stations still not paying royalties to rightholders.

Minister Promises Action

6. (U) Speaking at a September 27 and 28 copyright
conference, Culture and Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu
promised more action to repress piracy and provided the
following statistics on seizures of pirated material: 30
million compact disks; 276,000 VCDs; 50 million books; 5
million cassettes and nearly 18,000 computer program
compact disks. Note: Edisam claims the Minister's
statistics for book seizures are inflated, as the GOT
had only confiscated 94,000 books in the 12 months
ending in August 2003. Edisam itself is responsible for
confiscation of 350,000 books. End Note.

7. (SBU) Industry representatives told us that Mumcu
promised them that he would take several specific
measures to combat piracy:

-- Banning street sales of "cultural products" entirely;

-- Establishing a licensing system to force hotels,
restaurants and other establishments to pay royalties
for copyright materials used in public places;
-- (Unspecified) measures to strengthen the provincial
enforcement commissions.

8. (SBU) Mumcu told industry representatives that he
planned to draft and begin vetting draft legislation or
a draft regulation to effect these changes within the
next ten days. Note: To our knowledge, this has not
occurred. End Note.

9. (SBU) The copyright industries have lobbied for a ban
on street sales of optical media and books as the best,
and perhaps only way, to effectively enforce copyright.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry told us in July
(reftel) that it intended to implement the ban, but has
not done so. Embassy will seek an update from the
Ministry on this subject in the near future.

© Scoop Media

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