We have learnt the situation 3 days ago and we wanted to share this news by publishing a report. So we tried to reach Blogspot’s and Blogger’s Turkey respondents to hear their comments but they replied that they didn’t have any information. We have also reached Digiturk spokesperson and they told us that they had tried to reach the mentioned sites to inform the violation of copyright laws but faced a lack of interest so had to move the issue to the Court.
Digiturk decided to take the issue to the Court reasoning the violation of broadcasting copyrights of Lig TV. Since the platform owns the rights of broadcasting the Turkish Football League games under a subscription method via Lig TV channel and acquired these rights by spending a very huge amount of money to win the bid, they claimed that there are lots of blogs violating the Law No. 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works by giving illegal broadcasting links and should be taken to the Court.
Indeed a similar decision was taken against SourTimes, the most popular interactive dictionary site in Turkey, but the situation was quite different. SourTimes were also giving illegal Lig TV links and after Digiturk complained about this situation, there were some indignity entries and Digiturk took the matter to the Court. But SourTimes immediately deleted the entries and could manage to open the access after being inactive for some 2 hours.
But Digiturk states that they could not find any respondent from Blogspot and Blogger about the share of Lig TV broadcasts via P2P method. So they decided to take the issue to the Court and Diyarbakir Court has restricted access to the both domain names and 18.104.22.168 numbered IP address of world’s biggest blog service providers for all the Turkish users.
However, today (27th october) Blogger and Blogspot bans are taken back by same court, after lawyers took action against to ban which was applying for 3 days.
Site Access Restrictions in Turkey
Site access restriction decisions are highly based upon the Act No. 5651, which is regulating the 9 catalogue crimes including child pornography, in Turkey.
But the real problem arises from the site access restriction decisions which are not based on this Act. Some recent bans including the restrictions of Vatan Newspaper’s site, Richard Dawkins’ site and Egitim-Sen’s (Education and Science Employees Union) site are all examples to this situation and they were all restricted by Court as preliminary injunctions due to personnel or institutional appeals.
The problem is that Courts does not give a chance for the defendant to justify themselves before a restriction decision. And the reason to this approach is the general lack of knowledge about Internet and some reference decisions taken in 2005. Courts believe that this is the only way to decide a preliminary injunction. In those years Muyap, an organization defending the proprietary rights of music composers, had these decisions taken and the some music downloading sites whose owners could not be identified were restricted due to preliminary injunction decisions. But this approach became a bad habit and has been practiced without consideration.
Internet community in Turkey has been attempting to break this wrong practice for some time now and the most important step is considered as the education of judges and attorneys. The latest meeting held at Abant with the sponsorship of Microsoft is also a part of this attempt.
What is a Blog?
The term Blog means web-logging or more simply logging an on-line diary. Briefly, it is an internet application that can present multiple logs in reverse chronological (latest on the top and eldest at the bottom) order. The term “weblog” has been shorten and became “blog” in time. People writing blogs are called “bloggers” and the act of writing blogs is called “blogging”.
Digiturk and LigTV are tracking the sites which are violating their proprietary rights and getting them banned
It is a well known fact that there are some blogs sharing proprietary Lig TV broadcasts, which is owned by Digiturk platform and being provided to users on a pay per view subscription method, under “Free Lig TV” or “live Lig TV” names using P2P method. But this latest restriction is also representing a serious warning for the blog owners.
Indeed proprietary rights are seriously tracked all over the world. We have published an interview with Muyap authorities on this issue before since they have stated that they “tracked and appealed against many sites and got restriction decisions for lots of them”. Similarly, movie producers in U.S. and music composers in Europe are following the same approach.
We interviewed with a specialist on this issue and here are his comments:
Nowadays there are thousands of blogs in which you can find and download latest movies and songs in MP3 format. Since the knowledge level among many proprietary owners is not high enough or they just don’t want to strive in Courts, blog service providers usually don’t collaborate with the proprietary right owners against the violations. Even though they are ordered to collaborate by Courts, these service providers can claim that bloggers are setting their sites with fake ID’s from different countries and they have no responsibilities. However there is a clear violation here and blog service providers should be responsible of stopping the violation or giving Court the real names and IDs. They are responsible both in front of the laws and on the grounds of conscience.
Is it really so hard to get the ID numbers of blog owners and having a confirmation before providing a blog space? Or is it really so hard to give the IP of violating people if the proprietary right owner justifies his/her allegations? No matter of what, it is an absolute necessity to close the violating blog and defend the proprietary rights. Practicing this is not as hard as it is told, and will help both the legal blogs and proprietary right owners.
When we stated that Blogspot and Blogger is known to be “respecting the proprietary rights” another specialist told us:
When the Court decides an access restriction ban, it examines the proprietary rights claimed to be violated and it also takes into consideration that if proper warnings are made and entries are deleted or not within a reasonable time period.
Therefore in this latest situation Blogspot and Blogger does not have any valid arguments. Moreover it is a well known fact that they are acting really insensitive about Turkish Republic and Ataturk. It may be happening because of the insensitive, irresponsible and unprofessional behavior of their Turkey office personnel. We can’t know that for sure but their biased opinion and arrogant approach as “Blogspot and Blogger is way too big for a restriction” can be the reason preparing this latest situation.
It should always be remembered that a big organization will always lose more from a ban decision. So if Blogspot and Blogger are really big, they should work with proper organizations and managements. Otherwise proprietary right owners whose rights are violated will continue to think that they are being treated as citizens of banana republic.
According to the information we get, Digiturk has its own team for tracking proprietary rights violations and taking action against these. This team is called the antifraud team. This team have TvU and Sopcast P2P platforms restricted in Turkey via Court decisions last year and they are using advanced technologies and applications to track the proprietary rights. They have also had Justin TV banned based on the same reasons.
By the way, it is really interesting that YouTube and Mogulus, which are both Google investments, supported Digiturk by giving them the admin authority to close the violating links before. That means Digiturk could directly restrict or delete the links at YouTube and Mobulus which are streaming Lig TV videos.
It is highly expected that this restriction wave is going to hit other blog service providers very soon. Among these blog service providers are publishing institutions like Mynet Blog, Milliyet, Haberturk, Vatan and Azbuz.com. Azbuz.com was founded in 2006 with the partnership of Dogan Publishing Group and has 725,000 blogs and 1,300,000 users.
Digiturk spokesperson told that they are not aiming to get the blog service providers banned but stressed that blog contents which are violating their proprietary rights should be removed and their owner IPs should be reported to Court and Attorneys. Meanwhile blog owners sharing Lig TV broadcasts will really be sorry if their IP address is determined because they just can’t walk away with a simple access restriction decision. They could have to pay a really big severance payment in addition to the access restriction.