Amendments to The Law on Evaluation, Classification and Promotion of Motion Pictures

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Recent debates in Turkey between some of Turkish motion picture producers and a foreign based entertainment groups which distribute and display motion pictures prompt the legislator to make amendments to the current legislation in order to dissolve the discussions. Thereupon, The Law on Amendments to The Law on Evaluation, Classification and Promotion of Motion Pictures (No.7163) (“Amending Law”) is published in the Official Gazette on 30.01.2019.

The amendments has entirely renewed the articles of
The Law on Evaluation, Classification and Promotion of Motion Pictures (No.
5224) (“The Law”) concerning movie producers, distributers
and theatre operators with regard to the conditions of funding cinema
producers, constitution of Support Board and The Commission, supervision of
breaching usage of marks and inscription which are determined by Evaluation and
Classification Board.

Amending Law has been effective on 30.01.2019 as it is
published in Official Gazette. However, the amendments which regulates the
movie theatre operators’ some new obligations and administrative fine
responsibilities in the Article 13 of The Law will be effective on 01.07.2019.

2.   
Evaluation and Classification Board (“ECB”)

The Law provides several boards and commissions which
are responsible for different kind of tasks under the Ministry of Culture and
Tourism (“Ministry”). Evaluation and Classification Board, which is one
of them, is authorized to evaluate movies and motion pictures in order to
protect human dignity, public order, public morality, mental health of
children/youth and to classify their categories with the marks/inscriptions and
also to ban movies and motion pictures from commercial circulation and
projection in theatres in case they are improper.  

Even though Amending Law has been discussed a lot and
became hot topic on media as it brings censorship by the authorization of the
ECB, it should be noted that the ECB is an active board since the year of
establishment 2004. Furthermore, the ECB’s authorizations and responsibilities
have not been changed by the Amending Law. However, administrative fine
responsibilities arise from disobeying the rules of the ECB has been increased
by the Amending Law.

The only amendment related to evaluation and
classification is the obligation of marking "18+” age sign in some cases.
Accordingly, “18+” age sign is obligatory for the projections of the motion
pictures in the festivals, previews and other similar cultural and art
activities if the motion pictures haven’t been evaluated and classified by the ECB yet. The obligatory usage of
marks/inscriptions will also be applied to the promotions and the projection
halls.

3.   
Support Boards and The Commission

Before the Amending Law, there was only one board,
which is namely Support Board, to decide which project/production/post-production
will be supported and funded by Ministry for all kind of movies. According to
the Amending Law, Ministry may constitute up to four specialized Support Boards
for funding and supporting movies which are categorized based on their
specialties.

Pursuant to the Amending Law a new board will be
constituted which is The Commission. The Commission is a different kind of
board under Ministry which is authorized to funding/supporting only tv series
(soap operas) and foreign films.

According to the amendment, distribution and
introduction of the first feature-length fiction film productions,
feature-length motion picture productions, co-productions, documentary films
can be funded up to 50% of the budget indicated in support application form. On
the other hand, representation of the animation film productions, short film
productions, scripting and Turkish films can completely be funded by Ministry.
The funding budget for foreign films cannot exceed the 30% of the spent amount
in Turkey and the amount which is determined by Ministry.

The remarkable development regarding productions is
that the funds will be provided for all kind of production without a refund
requirement. Before the Amending Law, support to producers was given only with
the condition of refunding.

4.   
Sanctions to False Usage of Marks and Inscriptions and
Supervision

As it is mentioned above, ECB is the authority to
evaluate and classify movies. The producers, distributers and movie theatre
operators must comply with their responsibility on indicating the obligatory
marks and inscriptions which state classification of the movie. In case of
violation to this responsibility, local Chief Administrative Authority is
authorized to stop the projection and distribution until the marks and
inscriptions being indicated correctly and apply administrative fine. It should
be noted that even the marks or inscriptions are adjusted according to
applicable rules, it does not prevent to applying administrative fine.

The Amendments have revised the administrative
sanctions and provided lower fines for producers, but higher fines for movie theatre
operators.

In case of violation of obligation to correct usage of
marks and inscriptions;

  • If movie producers violate the obligation
    by not indicating obligatory marks and inscription or indicating them
    illusively, fine will be applied for 20.000 Turkish Liras (“TL”) as
    it was 50.000 TL before the Amendments.
  • If theatre operators violate the obligation
    by projecting movies without the marks and inscription or indicating them
    illusively, fine will be applied for 50.000 TL as it was 10.000 TL before
    the Amendments.

If distributers violate the obligation by not
indicating obligatory marks and inscription or indicating them illusively, fine
will be 20.000 TL as it was 10.000 TL or 50.000 TL before the amendments.
Theatre operators will be dealing with new responsibilities as well as higher
fines. The Amendment has regulated new provisions and dissolve the discussions
between Turkish producers and the foreign based entertainment groups which
distribute and project movies in their theatre halls. New paragraphs in the
Article 13 of The Law provides that;

  • The movie theatre owners cannot conduct any
    wholesale activity, promotion or campaign which involves the movie ticket
    and cannot sell anything together with movie ticket so the ticket prices
    will be shared easily between producer and theatre owner.
  • It brings strict rules to the movie theatres
    on the duration of advertisements and breaks in the course of feature.
  • It assigns movie theatres a new
    responsibility to notify the Ministry regarding the information of
    projected movies in their theatre.

In case of violation of these new obligations, theatre
operator will pay administrative fine for 50.000 TL for each theatre hall. It
should be noted that this provision and its sanctions will be effective on
01.07.2019.

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