“Originally in mid-March last year, I looked at everything very sceptically. I thought that remote training wouldn’t work for me, because I’ve only held a few of those kinds of sessions,” he says. Instead, Juha got used to the situation quickly.
Juha’s career can be described as an arc, where he started out with using learning materials, then sold them and learned about making the materials. Finally, he ended up at Kopiosto, telling people what they are allowed to do with learning materials from the perspective of copyright.
After working as a teacher for the City of Kauniainen for a few years, Juha moved to the Otava Publishing Company to sell textbooks to his colleagues. At one of the events, Kopiosto’s Deputy Managing Director Jukka-Pekka Timonen talked about Kopiosto’s new kinds of inspection activities in Finnish educational institutions and noted that they were looking for more people for the job. “I thought about it overnight and then contacted Timonen,” Juha reminisces. He started as the second inspector at Kopiosto in December 1997.
Many times, people have mistaken Juha for a lawyer. And no wonder, because talking about copyright issues is related to law, just on the practical level. “In fact, I used to say that I don’t have a degree, but I have studied the matters as required by my job description.”
Digitalisation has changed the content of the work
At the start of Juha’s career at Kopiosto, teachers were very surprised to learn that permission was required for making copies. “Many times, people claimed that the copying license granted by Kopiosto wasn’t necessary. The reason they gave was that teaching was not a business, it was about raising the citizens of the future.” Teachers were not too familiar with copyright yet. “It could be that the only time a teacher ran into copyright was the music performed by the children at the Christmas party,” Juha says.
During Juha’s early years at Kopiosto, people were starting to talk about digitalisation. It was what made him stay in his current job. “I would’ve been bored out of my wits talking about nothing but photocopying and recording things on VHS cassettes for all of the nearly 24 years of my career,” he laughs. Juha has followed the digital revolution of teaching with great interest. “15 years ago, people predicted that textbooks on paper would disappear completely, but that never happened. I don’t think that they will ever disappear from the lower stage of comprehensive school.”
Tutor training keeps things lively
Copyright was included in the curriculum a few years ago. Juha saw Kopiosto as having an important role in promoting the teaching about copyright. In fact, Kopiosto had an opportunity to help with the teaching duties. “Our licence structure actually covers the needs of comprehensive school and the secondary level extremely well by allowing the use of the latest materials in a variety of ways,” Juha notes.
The working groups for teaching development came up with the idea of tutor training, and funding for it was provided by the state. Kopiosto got excited about the idea of training teachers that could become potential tutors in copyright issues. “We contacted the largest municipalities in our country directly. We offered basic copyright training, and we also told them about the teaching licence arrangements at the same time.”
Juha is happy to explain the role of a tutor teacher further. “Copyright has been a special area of expertise for the teachers, and they have been able to take care of it in parallel with their own work with a certain amount of effort. In addition to their colleagues, the tutor teachers may have even inspired the learners. They also act as links between their own school and Kopiosto. If the school needs more extensive training in copyright issues, they ask one of us to visit.”
Even though I’ve held thousands of events over the years, I still want to prepare for each of them individually. Every customer needs to get 110% from me
When working as an inspector, you must not get tired of talking about copyright issues
The work of an inspector includes both preparing presentations as well as performing. It is important to draw up a presentation that suits that particular customer and is attractive as a whole. You cannot give the same lecture to teachers in early childhood education and university lecturers; it has to match their own experiences. “Even though I’ve held thousands of events over the years, I still want to prepare for each of them individually. Every customer needs to get 110% from me,” Juha says.
When interacting with teachers and learners, Juha has always wanted to talk about copyright in the same way as a teacher does. You can adjust your own speech in a specific direction. “This is why talking about copyright hasn’t been boring for me. I’ve tried to motivate myself to ensure that the other person understands what I’m saying,” Juha says.
Inspector in the role of a mediator
Sometimes Juha and his colleagues have investigated cases related to the use of works where it is determined whether someone has violated copyright or not. Usually, the simplest way to resolve this has been to contact the person, and the situation identified has been discussed and instructions to correct the matter have been given. In fact, Juha says that as an inspector, he listens and mediates. “I understand that accidents happen and they must be corrected.”
Juha has met a lot of people over the years at work, and he has cooperated with many of them during the whole time of working for Kopiosto. “I’m really sad that I haven’t been able to meet them in person at fairs these days; instead, I’ve had to send e-mails about my retirement,” he says.
Thoughts about Kopiosto as an employer
Juha has liked Kopiosto as an employer. “Even though the number of personnel has grown over the years, the sense of community has still stayed strong. It also comes through during these times of remote connections, when the whole staff meets in Teams once per week,” Juha notes happily.
It is nice to catch up with the colleagues when they meet. The open atmosphere is there in everyday work, and the relationship with the supervisor is easy. “Kopiosto has a nice, homemade feel – I don’t mean this professionally, just as a feeling,” Juha says. “It’s a fun coincidence how many of my former colleagues have stayed in the game, working for Kopiosto’s different member organisations, and we have just continued the cooperation in a new way.”
Juha will be spending his first days as a pensioner at his holiday cottage in the heart of Savo. As for next autumn or winter, he has no plans yet. “When everything opens up again, I’m sure that me and my wife will go on a trip somewhere again,” he smiles.
Interviewer: Ria Korkiakangas
Photo: Juho Heikkinen