Intellectual property rights

Creator copyright

Does copyright vest automatically in the creator, or must the creator register copyright to benefit from protection?

It is not mandatory to register copyright in order to establish certain rights, and registration is not a prerequisite for the enforcement of copyright. Copyright protection starts from the creation of the work (from the first communication of the work to the public) without the necessity for notification or registration. However, cinematographic and musical works must be registered to exploit rights and facilitate proof of ownership (not for creation of the rights). It is optional to register copyright for artworks. However, registration creates a presumption with respect to the date of creation.

Copyright duration

What is the duration of copyright protection?

Copyright protection starts when the work becomes public and subsists for the life of the author, plus 70 years following the death of the author. The 70-year period starts from 1 January of the year following the author’s death. If there is collective ownership of a work, the 70-year period begins from the date when the last surviving author dies.

Display without right holder's consent

Can an artwork protected by copyright be exhibited in public without the copyright owner’s consent?

Yes. The consent of the author or copyright owner is not required for the act of displaying a work in public if ownership of the artwork was transferred and the copyright owner used his or her right to publicise, unless the author has expressly prohibited such exhibition or dishonoured the author. Moreover, the name of the author must be omitted unless there is a contrary customary usage.

Reproduction of copyright works in catalogues and adverts

Can artworks protected by copyright be reproduced in printed and digital museum catalogues or in advertisements for exhibitions without the copyright owner’s consent?

No. This should be considered as copying and issuing copies of the work to the public. Therefore, it should be accepted as a copyright infringement unless permission from the copyright owner is obtained.

Copyright in public artworks

Are public artworks protected by copyright?

Yes. Copyright has the characteristics of absolute rights. Accordingly, only the financial rights of the author may be assigned, wholly or partially, although he or she may license the right to use the moral rights. Usually, the artist will hold copyright in the work and the government only has a licence to use the work. There are also some exemptions, such as fair use in the common law, which includes public interest, public order and private (personal) use. According to article 40 of the Copyright Law, ‘works of fine art permanently placed on public streets, avenues or squares may be reproduced by drawings, graphics, photographs and the like, distributed, shown by projection in public premises or broadcast by radio or similar means. For architectural works, this freedom is only valid for the exterior form.’

Artist's resale right

Does the artist’s resale right apply?

Yes. Under article 45 of the Copyright Law, authors of original works of art and their heirs are entitled to a royalty each time one of their works is resold (the sale must be of more than 5,000 Turkish lira) through an art market professional. Accordingly, if the price of the first sale is lower than that of the second sale, the author of the artwork (or his or her heir) may request compensation from the reseller after each sale. However, compensation can only be requested within the protection period of 70 years starting from the first date of sale. The resale right cannot be claimed for all artworks - those that are subject to the resale right should be originals bearing the signature of the author. The artist’s resale right does not apply to architectural works.

Moral rights

What are the moral rights for visual artists? Can they be waived or assigned?

The moral rights for visual artists include the right to publish, the right of attribution and the right of integrity. Unlike the financial rights of the author, moral rights cannot be waived or assigned. However, the copyright holder may license the right to use the moral rights. Any agreement to the contrary is considered void. The duration of protection is the lifetime of the author plus 70 years following his or her death. Copyright covers the author’s moral rights, such as the right to publicise the work and designate the author’s name, prohibition of modification of the work and rights against the owner or possessor of the work.