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Copyright Protection On Social Media – Copyright

Social media is an interactive communication platform where
users create content over the Internet, share their daily lives and
creative works. Before social media existed, all kinds of
publications and works were produced and published unilaterally in
traditional methods. While all productions along with social media
became interactive, not only artists, but everyone with internet
access began to be able to create artworks.

Nowadays, the Internet fills a large part of our lives. We often
encounter a situation where the rights of the owners of works
protected under the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works (LIAW)
are also violated through the Internet. Therefore, it is aimed to
protect intellectual rights with amendments made taking into
account the WIPO conventions on copyright in the LIAW. Products,
publications and works created by people can be easily re-shared by
others in social media, changes or additions can be made, and even
an income can be obtained from them without any permission. In this
case, people whose rights have been violated feel the need to
resort to various legal means.

Firstly, the type of the violation must be determined in order
to determine the course of action for the protection of
peoples’ rights. If there really is a copyright violation,
measures will be taken in accordance with the Law no.5846 on
Intellectual and Artistic Works. If there is not a violation, they
will need to look at the provisions on any signs, pictures, audios,
or photos that are not considered artworks in the LIAW.

In article 4 of the LIAW, an artwork is described as:
“Works of art, works which have aesthetic value, oil
paintings and all sorts of watercolor paintings, images, patterns,
pastels, engravings, calligraphy and illuminations, carving, inlay,
or similar methods used to mark metal, stone, wood or other
substances, serigraphy, cameography, statues, carvings,
architecture, crafts, miniatures and decorative art, textile
products, fashion designs, photographic works and slides, graphics,
comics and all kinds of typage.” The use of sketches,
paintings, models, designs and similar works as industrial models
and pictures does not affect their positions as intellectual and
artistic works.”

In article 5 of the LIAW, cinematographic works are defined as:
“A series of interrelated moving images, audible or
silent, that can be shown by electronic or mechanical or similar
means, regardless of the material in which they are detected, such
as films or motion pictures that are scientific, instructive,
technical or everyday events”

In case of a violation, it is important to determine whether the
subject of violation is considered a work of art, taking into
account the above definitions. As a matter of fact, if an
artwork’s rights are violated, in accordance with article 66 to
72 of the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works, the relevant
measures that can be taken and legal remedies can be applied. If it
is not considered an artwork, in accordance with article 84,
appropriate measures will still be taken, but there will be no
mention of a “copyright” violation.

1.In the Event that the Rights of an Artwork are Violated On
Social Media:

If an artwork’s rights are violated, the relevant provisions
of the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works will be applied
directly. In accordance with the law, artworks have economic, moral
and related rights. These rights are briefly referred to as
“copyrights”. In case of a copyright violation; methods
such as blocking access and/or requesting removal of content,
filing a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office and
filing a civil lawsuit will be used.

The economic rights of the owner of the work are communication
to the public, processing, dissemination, reproduction and
representation rights. Moral rights are the rights where the owner
has the right to make their work public, decide the name or
prohibit making changes on the work. If a work is published without
permission on social media, it may be said that the owners right to
transmit it to the public (which is one of the financial rights)
has been violated. Because the right of transmission to the public,
which is one of the financial rights, means the broadcasting of a
work by wired or wireless broadcasting mediums such as
radio-television or by means of signal, sound and/or image
transmission, including digital transmission.
Re-publishing the published works by other broadcasting mediums is
also within the scope of the right of public transmission.
Therefore, all kinds of publications made on the Internet violate
the right of communication to the public.

In this regard, a regulation was made in article 71/1 of the
FSEK: “Processing, representing, reproducing, modifying,
distributing, transmitting it to the public, publishing, selling,
buying it for commercial purposes, importing or exporting it,
retaining, storing or producing an artwork for non-personal use
without the written consent of the right holders, is punishable by
imprisonment from one year to five years or a judicial fine.”
In this context, if a work is published on the Internet without
permission, the owner of the work has the right to file a

Justification of the relevant article is: “An elective
offense definition has been made under subparagraph (1) of article.
Within the framework of a commercial activity, the acts that
constitute the crime in question are; an artwork being processed,
reproduced, distributed, disseminated, published, replicated, sold
or bought for commercial purposes, imported, exported, possessed,
stored and illustrated without the written permission of the
rightful owner. The subject of the offense is the intellectual
work, whose moral or economic rights are protected by this Law. In
order for this offense to occur, one of the actions in question
must be carried out without the written permission of the rightful
. Therefore, it can be mentioned that if the work
is published on the Internet without permission, the crime of
“Encroachment on Economic, Moral or Related Rights”
occurs. It is an offense to carry out any of the relevant actions
without the written permission of the rightful owner. Therefore, a
complaint can be filed to protect copyright from shares made on
social media.

The second method that can be used is requesting for the access
to be blocked. It is possible to block access to the works which
are subject to violation through the measure introduced by the
additional article 4 of the LIAW. In accordance with the
aforementioned additional article 4, in case the service and
information content providers violate the rights of the right
holders on the work, it can be decided by the holders to remove the
infringed works from the content. In order to apply this procedure,
a warning must first be sent to the content provider who published
the work and ask them to stop the violation within three days. If
the content provider does not comply with the rightholder’s
warning within a three-day period, the owner of the artwork can
apply to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and request the service
provider to stop the service within three days. If the violation is
stopped, the content provider will be provided with the service

Another method is to file a civil lawsuit and claim compensation
for the damage. In this regard, the provisions on civil cases were
regulated in articles 66 to 70 of the LIAW. According to these
provisions, the rightful owner of the work can file; a compensation
case, a non-pecuniary compensation case and a case to determine
whether there is a violation.

In accordance with Article 68 of the LIAW, the amount of
compensation that can be requested in case of a violation of
financial rights has been determined as: “If an artwork is
processed, represented, reproduced, modified, distributed,
transmitted to the public, published, sold, bought for commercial
purposes, imported or exported, retained, stored or produced for
non-personal use without the written consent of the right
they may request threefold (at most) of
the price they are able to request if a contract had been
concluded, or the current value to be determined in accordance with
the provisions of this Law.
accordance with this regulation, compensation up to three times the
amount of the royalty fee to be claimed may be requested if the
contract has been concluded to transmit the work in question to the

2.In the Event that the Rights of a Work which is not an
Artwork are Violated:

When a publication that is not an artwork is shared without
permission; If there is a violation of personal rights, blocking
the access may be requested. If there is not a violation, and the
publication can be considered inside the scope of article 84 of the
LIAW, both criminal and civil proceedings can be taken by applying
the provisions of unfair competition.

In article 9 of the Law No. 5651, it is regulated that persons
whose personal rights have been violated can request the removal of
the content and/or the blocking of access by contacting the judge.
In accordance with these provisions, it is possible to request
access to and/or removal of the content that is a violation of
personal rights.

As a matter of fact, in the event of a violation of personal
rights or not, the provisions of the Law on Intellectual and
Artistic Works, Article 84 can be applied . In accordance with this
provision; “A person who rightfully reproduces or
publishes a sign, a picture, or a sound for commercial purposes can
ban them from being reproduces or published by a third party. Even
if the violator is not a trafficker,
provisions on
unfair competition
are applied to those who act
contrary to the provisions of the first paragraph.

The provision of this article also applies to all kinds
of photographs that are not artworks, paintings that are determined
by similar procedures, and movie products.”

According to the relevant provision, it is possible to file a
complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office by applying
unfair competition provisions on photographs, paintings and cinema
products that are not artworks, as well as to file a compensation


Various regulations have been made in our legal system regarding
the violation of copyright through social media. In cases such as
unauthorized sharing and modification of works, the rightful owners
may request the removal of this publication, contact the Public
Prosecutor’s Office to initiate an investigation into the
matter, or sue for damages. Since the regulations regarding social
media are increasing and developing continually.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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