In recent weeks, decision-makers have given signals that promise improvements for the creative industry in both the short and long term. The solutions include the proposal of a working group set up by the Ministry of Education and Culture for an exit plan for events, as well as the initiative of the Finance Committee to revise the unemployment security of creative workers. The desired two per cent of the EU’s recovery funding is being allocated to culture, to be distributed through the Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland.
At the same time as new solutions are being developed to secure the future of the creative industry, existing ones must also be taken care of. Copyright legislation relevant to the industry needs to be updated to meet today’s needs, and the well-functioning model of compensation for private copying needs to be taken care of.
The creative economy is backed by copyright
Copyright makes it possible to earn a living and do business with creative work. Copyright, which protects the results of creative work, is one of the cornerstones of the creative economy. It is therefore essential that the creative industry is supported by well-functioning and up-to-date copyright legislation. Without it, creative professionals working in culture, information and entertainment would be at a significant disadvantage.
At its best, a reform of the Copyright Act could give the coronavirus-afflicted industry confidence in and hope for the future.
An update to the Copyright Act is currently under regulatory drafting. The reform takes into account the EU directive on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market, approved in 2019. The aim of the directive is to modernise EU members’ legislation to respond to the new uses of works, improve the position of copyright holders in the online environment and ensure a level playing field in the digital market in the EU.
At its best, a reform of the Finnish Copyright Act could give the coronavirus-afflicted industry confidence in and hope for the future. The legislator can contribute to making it possible to continue making a living with creative work in Finland in the future.
However, to realise this, the majority of the well-prepared EU directive must be included in Finnish legislation verbatim. When there is a choice, copyright agreements must be recorded in the legislation instead of restrictions.
Compensation for private copying supports creative work
When making decisions about coronavirus grants and other support measures for the cultural sector, it is a good idea to keep in mind the resources that are already being channelled to the creative industry. If they are not taken care of, the end result is a situation in which new millions of euros are being directed to the industry while the existing ones are being eliminated.
Compensation for private copying is direct support for the industry. Additionally, supporting new works creates work opportunities for creative professionals and diversifies the selection of cultural content.
Compensation for private copying is a compensation required by law to the copyright holders of works for having their works copied for private use. At its current level, the compensation totals EUR 11 million per year. The funds paid from the state budget are directed to the creative industry through copyright organisations, among other means.
In 2020, Kopiosto received EUR 5.7 million in compensation for private copying to distribute as compensation for the private recording of audiovisual works. We paid EUR 3.1 million of this amount directly to authors and performers in the audiovisual industry. Every year, approximately 6,500 creative workers receive these payments from Kopiosto.
Through the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture AVEK, which is a part of us, we directed EUR 2.6 million to support diverse Finnish culture. AVEK uses these funds to enable the creation of over 140 new films and media artworks every year.
Works supported by AVEK that were completed last year include e.g. the documentary Aalto directed by Virpi Suutari, Antti Holma’s short film Kill Anneli and Maija Blåfield’s award-winning experimental documentary The Fantastic.
Indeed, compensation for private copying is not only fair compensation to the author for the use of their works, but also direct support to the industry. Additionally, supporting new works creates work opportunities for creative professionals, allows new talent to enter the industry and diversifies the selection of cultural content.
I remind the decision-makers: When creating long-term solutions to support culture, remember to include the responsible development of legislation most relevant to the creative industry and the preservation of existing, well-functioning support systems.
– Valtteri Niiranen, CEO of Kopiosto
Photo: Riitta Supperi