For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

IPKat banned in Turkey -- but he's not alone

The IPKat has learned to his great dismay that not just he but all bloggers whose work is hosted on a Blogger Blogspot website are currently unavailable to Turkish readers, having been blocked by a court order. It seems that a local court in Diyarbakir, to the south-east of Turkey, ordered the ban in an action involving a copyright infringement claim made by the Turkish satellite TV company Digiturk.

According to the Kat's friend, IP scholar Dr Burcu Kilic, it seems that Digiturk is the assignee of the broadcasting rights of the Turkish premier football league.  When Digiturk discovered that some of the football matches in which it held the broadcasting rights had been posted on blogspot blogs without any authorisation, it filed a complaint against Blogspot. Since, under Turkey's Copyright Act, it is possible to shut down or block an entire service, the court blocked the entire Blogspot instead of requesting the removal of infringing content.

Discussions are still going on in Turkey, where this ban is generally interpreted as a “disproportionate response” which inflicts inconvenience on millions of internet users in Turkey. Some critics equate this ban with censorship. Turkish bloggers have now started a new campaign called “don’t touch my blog”, against the ban.

From the copyright perspective, the current provisions of Turkish copyright law provide once again unusually strong protection for right owners. A copyright proprietor can easily claim copyright infringement and ask the court to issue a blanket ban on the website or platform. As far as Burcu could check, thousands of web pages that have been banned due to copyright infringement.

Says the IPKat, this is an absolute outrage!  Quite right, says Merpel, and spare a thought for how much reading our Turkish readers will have to do in order to catch up with all the IPKat's posts while the ban was operative.

A further report on this ban can be found on Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review here, which also records a response from Blogger's owner Google here.

Thanks are also due to the Kat's friend Mehmet Artemel, for the kind supply of links to this news.

Ban the Bomb here
Ban the YouTube here
Ban the Plastic Bag here

1 comment:

Matthew Taylor said...

I've been quite unable to find an explanation of what exactly was being posted onto blogspot.com hosted blogs - it's clearly not correct to say that the matches (presumably footage of them) were posted, since the Blogger platform doesn't provide that functionality, let alone that it was used to "broadcast" the matches as Hurriet Daily claims.

I assume what's actually meant is that videos hosted elsewhere (e.g. Youtube) were embedded, or that links were provided to locations where the footage can be downloaded. In either case, there are links which can be followed and the underlying site blocked (and, as noted below, Turkey has been willing to block Youtube in the past).

Reading the reporting, I was initially left with the impression that what was being posted was live blogging - which would have made far more sense, but which would also have raised some much more interesting IP issues.

Although the IPKat's undoubtedly right about the strength of IP protection in Turkey, it should be seen in the context of Turkish Law, and the Turkish courts', approach to the internet - there have been a sequence of widely reported cases where websites have been blocked, notably that of Richard Dawkins , and (until last year) the Google-owned Youtube.

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