Amendments to The Law on Evaluation, Classification and Promotion of Motion Pictures
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 theater 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.
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 theaters 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 theater 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 theater 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 theater owner.
It brings strict rules to the movie theaters on the duration of advertisements and breaks in the course of feature.
It assigns movie theaters a new responsibility to notify the Ministry regarding the information of projected movies in their theater.
In case of violation of these new obligations, theatre operator will pay administrative fine for 50.000 TL for each theatre hall.
Published on Lexology.com on 08.02.2019.