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Turkey bans Blogger.com over copyright spat

A Turkish broadcaster finds that some Blogger.com users are illegally showing soccer matches online. Google, which owns the blogging service, said the ruling went too far.

Satellite dishes in Turkey

Satellite dishes are quite popular in Turkey

A local Turkish court has ordered the popular website Blogger to be blocked in Turkey as a result of a complaint by a Turkish satellite TV company, Digiturk.

The company had complained to Turkish authorities that some Blogger users had been illegally broadcasting some soccer matches using the Google-owned online blogging service.

As a result, a court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır banned the website from the entire country, which is due to take effect within the next few days unless further legal action is taken to stop it.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Turkish brodcaster said that it had exhausted all other legal options.

"Digiturk has spent $321 million in order to get the right to broadcast Spor Toto Super League matches. However, matches [whose broadcasting rights] belong to Digiturk and Lig TV are broadcasted by certain websites, disregarding all relevant laws," the company said in its statement.

"Thus, we applied to court to ban these websites, and the court decided to ban access to them, after it was proved that although all legal procedures were conducted, the violations were not stopped."

Google and other Digi t urk critics disagree

Google logo

Google called upon Turkey to reconsider the decision to ban Blogger.com from the country

On Thursday, Google shot back with a statement of its own and said that the comany was "seriously concerned" about allegations of copyright violations, but noted that banning the entire Blogger service was excessive.

Instead of depriving all content owners from accessing Blogger services, we encourage them to make use of such a process," the California company said in its statement. "In this way, Blogger users from Turkey will be able to benefit from the services while we try to deal with the complaint."

Cyber-activist Yaman Akdeniz told the Hürriyet Daily News, a Turkish newspaper, that there are more than 600,00 bloggers in Turkey using the service.

Other Turkish bloggers and media authorities also quickly condemned the move.

"If two people plan a criminal activity on the phone, should we ban the use of telephones all over the country?" asked Deniz Ergürel, the secretary-general of the Media Association, in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.

This is not the first time Turkish courts have been used to implement blanket bans on websites in Turkey. In October 2010, Turkey rescinded a similar two-year-old ban on the website YouTube, which is also owned by Google.

Author: Cyrus Farivar
Editor: John Blau

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