The Legal Nature of Program Formats as Copyrightable Works in Turkish LawGül Büyükkılıç, Halil Berk Erdoğan
Program formats can be defined as the fundamental structures that include the characteristic features of a program, allowing different program episodes to be created by evaluating the format in a similar yet distinct manner in each episode of the program. Initially emerging in the radio field and later gaining prominence in the television industry, formats have expanded their usage to include digital platforms as well. Currently, there is a strong demand in the markets of various countries for formats that have already been created and aired in other markets. However, there is no clear legal regulation on how program formats should be protected. In the doctrine, there is often a debate about whether formats can be protected as works under Law No. 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works1 (IPL). These debates center on whether formats have a degree of concreteness worthy of protection as copyrightable works and whether they bear the characteristics of their authors, and even if these conditions are met, there is no consensus on which category of works formats should be included in. This study focuses on the evaluation of program formats within the scope of the IPL criteria for being considered as works, based on Turkish legal doctrine and judicial decisions.