The foundation for the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture AVEK’s operations is formed by the compensation for private copying, which is funded from the state budget. The previous decision on compensation funds expired this year, and the development of the compensation for private copying, as specified in the Government Programme, has not yet been initiated. This means that AVEK’s future is wide open.
AVEK’s history is intertwined with the history of the compensation: AVEK was founded for the distribution of this indirect form of support. The purpose of the compensation (formerly known as the “cassette fee” and later “hyvitysmaksu”, private copying levy) is to compensate creators for the right of all citizens to copy copyrighted works, such as movies, for their own private use. The majority of the compensation is paid as individual compensations to the creators. In recent years, AVEK has distributed approximately €2.5 million of the audiovisual segment’s indirect share to support the creation of new works, continuing education, internationalisation, festivals and events.
AVEK can continue to be more important than its size suggests
AVEK has always been a promoter of new things and methodologies. At first, it provided training in video production. Later, it branched into digital content, also with its own support funds, then into new ways of presenting and producing audiovisual content. These include XR technology and new out-of-the-ordinary venues like the Musiikkitalo Media Wall.
AVEK has an illustrious past. AVEK’s history is the history of Finnish media art, and the rise of the Finnish documentary film in the 1990s was driven by the organisation. AVEK was involved in bringing video editing technology to Estonia, which at the time was still part of the Soviet Union. The thought seems fairly radical now. Today, AVEK can be just as prominent a trendsetter and much more important than its size would suggest in years to come.
In the midst of the current change, AVEK wants to be a champion of diversity in the ecosystem of AV culture.
AVEK has accumulated its expertise through funding creative industries as well as creating content and decision-making models. What we are most appreciated for is the work done by our production advisors: in addition to support decisions, AVEK also provides advice to those who need it. We aim to stay close to the creators and help in ways other than just financing: by organising mentoring or helping like-minded applicant groups find each other, for example.
That said, even more important than what AVEK has been is what it could be.
The media industry is going through momentous changes. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated and deepened the process of this development. The markets faced a disruption that forced large operators to change their ways of doing things. Streaming services have grown massively, while theatre distribution will be in dire straits for quite some time.
The disruption can also be a force for positive change. As an avid gardener, I know that hoeing the soil, i.e. causing a disruption, can release a vast pool of seeds, such as dormant goosefoot and ground elder seeds. The first thought is that this will lead to weeds taking over the entire garden, but what if we decided to think differently and saw these weeds as wild herbs!
Who are the tenacious trailblazers of reworked soil, the counter-revolutionaries who adeptly find new underground routes to take advantage of the gaps left behind by larger operators?
In the changing media landscape, AVEK wants to champion diversity in the ecosystem of AV culture. We cannot be the bottleneck for those who want to try something new and make it available to audiences in entirely new ways. We do not want to lose talent; we want to bolster the international competence of creators and be open to everything new.
AVEK’s persistent foundation ensures an empowering and engaging future
For the entire industry, it would be important to know that AVEK is here to stay. The AVEK of the future is being built, but our foundation is now crumbling. There is no certainty about the future of the compensation for private copying.
We received confirmation of the support funding for 2021 significantly late on 16 June. The confirmation involves a 30-day appeal period, after which the decision will be legally valid. This means that the normal decision-making process cannot be resumed until August. According to the decision, AVEK’s support funds will be reduced by €150,000 from the previous year. The amount of the funds is based on the proportion of copying volume between music and picture. When this ratio changes, so do the proportions of the support funds. This is not exactly conducive to predictability. AVEK’s compensation allocation should be standardised for at least a few years at a time. It would help in terms of continuity and clarify the situation for our applicants.*
Unfortunately, the delay in this year’s support fund confirmation may result in us having to reject more applications towards the end of the year. Early in the year, support has been distributed in accordance with AVEK’s normal level of funding.
We need creators to help us so that we can help creators.
We have lived in uncertainty for six months, and we do not know what will happen after 2021. ** We need creators to help us so that we can help creators. Tell us what you would like AVEK to provide in the future. We like to think of AVEK as an empowering and engaging organisation for creators. What does AVEK mean to you? Talk publicly about what AVEK means to you and convey the message to decision-makers and your interest organisations.
What we need now is for decision-makers to make decisions – not only concrete ones on this year’s support funds but also decisions on future plans to stabilise the industry after the coronavirus crisis and provide predictability.
Decision-maker: what do you intend to do for the ecosystem of AV culture?
The parts marked with an asterisk were added on 17 June 2021, once we received confirmation of this year’s support funds. The following sections of text were removed:
*Upon writing this, we have not yet received confirmation of the funds to be allocated to AVEK for this year’s compensation for private copying. This is another setback in addition to the previously-mentioned halving of creative demo support schemes. In any case, the confirmation will be hopelessly late once it finally arrives in the summer. We have operated through the early part of the year under the assumption that the situation will remain the same and the support funds will remain at €2.5 million.
However, now we have been informed that AVEK’s support allocations will be cut back due to a mechanism built into the system. The amount of the funds is based on the proportion of copying volume between music and picture. When the proportion changes or it is interpreted in a different way, as would seem to be the case now, the proportion of the distributed funds will also change. This does not help with predictability. AVEK’s compensation allocation should be standardised for at least a few years at a time. It would help in terms of continuity and clarify the situation for our applicants.
**What this means is that we are in a situation where we do not know the amount of support available for the remainder of the year or what will happen after 2021.