Cablegate: New Intellectual Property Legislation Enters

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: New Intellectual Property Legislation Enters
into Force


Ref: Ankara 977


1. (U) Legislation enacted in March contains several
strong anti-piracy provisions, including a ban on street
sales of all copyright products and authorization for
law enforcement authorities to take action without a
complaint by the rightholder. However, some in the
intellectual property industries are unhappy with
reduced sanctions for pirates to non-deterrent levels.
The Culture Ministry informed us that they have
coordinated closely with law enforcement authorities on
the law's application, and that sweeps aimed at pirates
have begun in Ankara. The music industry has succeeded
in boosting collection of certain royalty payments.
Philip Morris claims that counterfeiting of its products
is a growing problem. End Summary.

New Intellectual Property Legislation

2. (U) Law 5101, published in the March 12 State
Gazette, amends earlier legislation on copyright,
cinema, municipalities and broadcasting with the
intention of suppressing piracy. IPR industry sources
highlight the following features of the new law:

-- A ban on street sales of all copyright products,
including legal ones. This should not only suppress
sale of unauthorized works, but should also reduce the
scope of the unregistered economy by making it more
difficult to sell even legitimate works without paying

-- Authorizing all law enforcement units, as well as the
armed forces and municipalities, to make ex officio
seizures of materials;

-- Abolition of the (mostly ineffective) provincial
inspection committees previously charged with IPR
enforcement. However, committees in Ankara, Izmir and
Istanbul will continue to operate;

-- Application of organized crime legislation and
sanctions to some forms of piracy;

-- Amendments removing penal provisions from the Cinema
Law. Judges have generally applied the Cinema Law, with
penalties weaker than those in the Intellectual and
Artistic Works Law, in piracy cases.

-- Reduced penalties, although in cases of recidivism,
the prison terms and fines cannot be suspended. The GOT
maintains that there was no alternative to reduced
penalties as Turkish judges refused to apply the strict
sanctions in previous legislation. Film industry
representatives believe the new law's penalties are not

-- The law also contains provisions on royalties to be
paid by broadcasters and by public premises such as
hotels and bars, as well as on Internet-based piracy.
State-operated Turkish Radio and Television will benefit
from provisions which do not allow rightholders to
refuse permission to broadcast their works upon regular
payment of royalties.

3. (U) Post will forward an English language translation
of the law when it becomes available.

Enforcement Starting

4. (SBU) In an April 6 meeting with Econoff and Econ
Specialist, Abdurrahman Celik, the Culture Ministry's
General Director for Copyright and Cinema, and his
Deputy Gunay Gormez, told us that the Ministry had
briefed and coordinated extensively with other GOT
agencies on the new law, and that enforcement of the ban
on street sales has already begun. Gormez stated that
the Interior Ministry issued a circular to police and
coast guard units around the country on March 31
summarizing provisions of the new law. The Culture
Ministry is also working on a series of seminars for law
enforcement officials in 10 provinces, as well as a six-
month public awareness campaign. Both are to begin in
late April.

5. (SBU) Celik told us that, in the first street sweeps
under the new law on April 5, 98 individuals were
arrested in Ankara. In these raids, 27,000 compact
disks and 4,000 books were confiscated. He advised that
enforcement in Istanbul would follow shortly. Gormez
predicted that open street sales of pirated merchandise
should be eliminated within about a month.

Industry Reaction

6. (SBU) Representatives of the IPR industries have
generally viewed the legislation as a positive step, and
were hopeful that enforcement would be effective.
AMPEC, which is affiliated with the Motion Picture
Association, however, is critical of reduced sanctions
contained in the new legislation and believes they are
not a serious deterrent. AMPEC's General Manager also
pointed out that the law forces rightholders to work
through professional associations in collecting
royalties from hotels, restaurants and other public
places, but noted that this is more an issue for the
music than the film industry. In early March, the
Managing Director of Oxford University Press opined that
the law looked helpful, but expressed doubt that it
could be effectively enforced given that Turkish judges
do not view piracy as a serious crime. Microsoft's Anti-
Piracy manager praised the fact that piracy has become a
"public crime", enabling law enforcement authorities to
make seizures without a complaint from the rightholder.
The President of MU-YAP (the Turkish Phonographic
Industry Society and affiliate of the International
Federation of the Phonographic Industry) told us he
would work in support of GOT implementation of the new
law, particularly its enforcement.

Other Issues

7. (U) Royalty Collections: In early March, MU-YAP told
us that the organization had succeeded in collecting
about USD 2 million in 2003 from broadcasters, up from
virtually nothing a few years ago. According to press
reports, MU-YAP, working in concert with other
professional music associations, has succeeded in
compelling a host of large Turkish and international
retailers and restaurants to pay royalties on music
played in their premises by launching court cases
against them. U.S. companies which have agreed to pay
royalties in Turkey include McDonald's, Pizza Hut,
Kentucky Fried Chicken and Toys'R Us.

8. (U) Cigarette Counterfeiting: Philip Morris
representatives recently told us that counterfeiting of
their cigarettes, mainly by Chinese exporters, was a
growing problem. The company estimates that around 2
billion cigarettes in its brands were counterfeited in
2003. (Note: Annual sales for the company in Turkey
are estimated at 38 to 40 billion cigarettes this year.)


9. (U) On balance, the new legislation can be considered
a step forward in IPR protection, but the principal
issue is effective enforcement. GOT training, as well
as an upcoming U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seminar
on enforcement, should be helpful in this area. In
addition, the complete ban on sales of books, films and
music on Turkish streets, combined with public crime
provisions in the new law, should make enforcement
relatively easier for the authorities and should make
life a bit more difficult for pirates. Edelman

© Scoop Media

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