The decision, which is important to authors, was preceded by the systematic work of several members of parliament and committees, as well as the activity of copyright organisations.
Mikko Alatalo (KESK), Raija Vahasalo (KOK) and Pia Viitanen (SDP) compiled the first cross-party budgetary motion when the information was received on the government’s proposal to cut the compensation from 11 to 9 million euros.
‘We believed strongly from the start that our motion would be approved. The compensation funds and the grants paid from them are essential for diverse and regionally available domestic culture. A small investment in the state scale leads to a large payoff,’ summarises Raija Vahasalo from the National Coalition Party, who was a strong advocate of the issue.
The Education and Culture Committee, led by Tuomo Puumala (KESK), processed the matter for the first time in the spring in connection with the budget framework. As the autumn budget process was nearing, the committee chose the compensation of private copying as one of the focus areas in the discussion.
‘The Education and Culture Committee has stated previously that, if the level of compensation is not sufficient, the matter must be addressed again. We considered it important to address not only the amount of compensation but the development needs of the system,’ says Puumala. ‘Promoting a matter supported by several parties has been pleasant. Now it is important to implement the reformation process within the schedule outlined by the committee, together with the relevant interest groups,’ he continues.
From the Education and Culture Committee, the matter progressed to the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee for Education and Science, led by Pia Viitanen (SDP), which supported the matter. Viitanen was the minister who presented the issue when it was decided the compensation should be transferred to the state budget.
‘Artists and authors need their livelihood and appreciation of their work. A reasonable level of compensation must be guaranteed. This supports the creative economy; it is wise to promote it and provide it with the opportunity to grow,’ says Viitanen.
The final decision was made by the Finance Committee. At the direction of Chairperson Timo Kalli (KESK) and the representatives of the other government parties, Timo Heinonen (KOK) and Matti Torvinen (SIN), it was decided that an additional allocation of 2 million euros would be proposed to parliament. In addition, the committee proposed as a non-binding resolution that the Ministry of Education and Culture consider the options of reforming the compensation system by April 2019. The reformation of the current budget-based system during the government term starting in 2019 was set as the objective of the survey.
‘It is essential for authors that the budget-based system is updated to meet the requirements of the digital age regarding reasonable compensation. So the new government will have a lot to do,’ Timo Heinonen summarises.
The organisations that participated in the advocacy work extend their warm thanks to parliament for their wise decision.
‘It is wonderful news for authors that each party has brave advocates of the creative economy. In addition, the advocacy work was a spectacular demonstration of cooperation between organisations. Authors and author organisations and many associations in the creative industry worked together for a common cause during the autumn. This is a good start,’ says Valtteri Niiranen, CEO of Kopiosto.
The following organisations participated in the advocacy work:
The Finnish Music Foundation (MES)
AVEK – the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture
GRAMEX, Copyright Society of Performing Artists and Phonogram Producers in Finland
Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society Teosto
The Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC)
The Lyhty network of workers and entrepreneurs in the creative industry, including the cooperation organisation for Finnish artists’ associations Forum Artis, the literary copyright society Sanasto ry, the visual artists’ copyright organisation Kuvasto ry and the Finnish Film Distributors’ Association