Digital technologies continue to transform the way creative content is produced, distributed and accessed, and one of the most affected sectors is the printed publication industry. To illustrate, the results of an EU Commission 2021 survey[1] revealed that 72% of internet users aged 16 to 74 in the EU access newspapers and magazines online.

The increasing importance of the Internet in the sharing of intellectual works necessitates legislative regulations that are compatible with technological developments and that will protect authors’ rights regarding their use on online platforms. In this regard, the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (CDSM), adopted on 26 March 2019, aims to improve licensing practices and achieve a well-functioning market by adapting copyright principles to the digital and cross-border environment. Member states were required to implement the Directive into their national law by 07 June 2021. The CDSM brings improvements regarding the right of content creators to enter into licensing agreements for the online use of their content as well as their right to fair remuneration.[2]

Article 15 of the CDSM, entitled "Protection of Press Publications’ Online Uses", regulates the neighboring rights of the press publishers. It allows online platforms and news publisher websites to take measures against copyright infringements, regulates the transferal of the high revenues of large digital companies to content owners by ensuring fair remuneration for online use of right holders works from the revenues of Information Society Service Providers. However, hyperlinking, private or non-commercial use, use of individual words or very short extracts of a press publication are exempted from these regulations for two years after the publication date. The start of this period is calculated from January 1st of the year following the publication.

Following enactment of the CDSM it has become inevitable that platforms providing access to online content will encounter legal claims and will need to adjust their systems accordingly. As a significant example, Google, which features the content of third parties through detailed analysis, categorization, ranking, summarization, and redirection, initially took several measures[3] explaining that it would only show previews and thumbnails of the news unless the publishers agree to provide the content free of charge. But with the enactment of the CDSM, it has faced multiple lawsuits[4] involving claims that extend beyond EU borders. By changing its policy and starting to obtain licenses[5], Google has announced that it is now working on a licensing program with more than 750 publishers across Europe. [6]

In Türkiye, there is no specific legislation regulating the rights of press publishers in digital media. The general provisions concerning printed publications under the Press Law No. 5187 and copyright protection provisions under the LIAW for such works are applied to disputes regarding their online use.

Pursuant to Article 36/1 of LIAW, daily news and information communicated to the public by the press or radio can be freely quoted, provided that the mandatory information stipulated in the Press Law is included therewith. In terms of articles and features on social, political, and economic issues of the day published in newspapers or journals, if the right of quotation is not reserved, they are free to be used in original or adapted form; even if the right is reserved, quoting them by abridging a press review, disseminating them via radio or other channels is allowed. In all these cases, the name, issue and date of the source and the name/pseudonym/mark of the author must be mentioned.

In Türkiye, the need to introduce provisions in terms of digital copyrights in parallel with the developments in the EU has been widely discussed, and it has been stated that the Digital Transformation Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are working on draft legislation to ensure that publishers in Türkiye also receive fair royalties for the use of their content in digital media.[7]

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/ddn-20220824-1
[2] https://cdn.istanbul.edu.tr/file/JTA6CLJ8T5/D982D971D89C4AA3A4F299FAD2FF18F5
[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolemartin1/2019/09/26/the-battle-between-google-and-eu-online-copyright-reform/?sh=78435c7f3e08
[4] https://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/sites/default/files/integral_texts/2020-06/20-mc-01_en.pdf https://eresources.hcourt.gov.au/downloadPdf/2022/HCA/27
[5] https://blog.google/products/news/google-news-showcase/
[6] https://blog.google/around-the-globe/google-europe/google-licenses-content-from-news-publishers-under-the-eu-copyright-directive/
[7] https://cbddo.gov.tr/haberler/6508/dijitallesme-surecinde-basinda-telif-haklarinin-korunmasi-sempozyumu

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