Sunal family leads to change in Turkish cinema royalty law

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n_27972_4The court of appeals has decided producer Şerafettin Gür will pay compensation to the family of Turkish actor Kemal Sunal for broadcasting the films “Düttürü Dünya” and “Yoksul” (Poor) on TV without paying any royalties.

Kemal Sunal, who died in 2000, was one of the most celebrated Turkish comedy actors and his movies have been shown many times without royalties on Turkish TV.

The 11th Supreme Court of Appeals said Gür should pay 2,000 Turkish Liras for the material damage and 10,000 liras for the moral damage to the family. The court has given the penalty for “violation of royalty rights.”

The new decision gives Sunal’s family the opportunity to collect royalties for his movies shown on TV. The decision will also cover the cinema films of Sunal.

The family of Sunal sued Gür in October 2006 for a violation of royalty rights. Sunal’s wife Hafize Gülderen Sunal, his son, Ali Sunal, and daughter, Ezo Sunal, said according to the contract, Sunal’s movies may only be shown in cinemas and not on TV. According to the agreement, the royalty rights were violated as the producer showed the movies on TV for years.

The family said they had never permitted the movies to be shown on TV. The petition of the family said the movies of Sunal were aired during primetime and no one from the family had received any royalties from them.

According to the decision taken in 2010 by the First Istanbul Intellectual Property Rights Court, the values of these movies have reached a high economic value due to their non-monopolization by TRT.
Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said the appeals court had made the right decision. “I think that artists deserve royalty rights for the end products that they created before 1993 or 1995.” “This new decision of the appeals court has a very important meaning for us,” said Günay, noting that they are currently working on the laws on property rights and cinema law in Turkey.

“We are preparing to present this new draft to the Cabinet of ministers. Currently all the rights have been given to producers, but we will change it.”

August/17/2012 Hurriyet

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