CEO’s Review: A good year in the shadow of corona
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was surprisingly positive for Kopiosto: remote working went well, our revenue increased and advocacy work progressed.
The year of the coronavirus pandemic showed that both our operations and our licence products are able to adapt to these exceptional circumstances.
Working, teaching and interacting remotely
In the spring, our transition and adaptation to remote working went surprisingly well. We had been working remotely already before, so we had all the required abilities for it. We practically dropped all our normal visits to educational institutions and events, but we quickly began to liaise with our different stakeholders, arrange trainings and take part in events online.
Our licence products proved to be functional even in this new situation. The licencing development work we have done over the years made the usage of materials possible in distance teaching, whereas many other countries had to settle for stopgap solutions or even overlook the unauthorised use of copyrighted works.
Money distributed quickly as aid
Financially, the coronavirus pandemic had little impact on Kopiosto’s operations in 2020. While our revenue from licencing was even slightly higher than budgeted, our operational expenditure was lower.
We have been able to hold on to our role as a producer of copyright revenue and, for our part, ease the financial plight of creative workers. We expedited the distribution of copyright remunerations during the year of the coronavirus pandemic whenever it was possible.
Our member organisations also expedited the issuance of the grants and scholarships to their members paid from the copyright funds collected by us.
Decentralisation of agreements brings the users closer
During the year, we continued to decentralise centralised agreements. Earlier, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland had procured a centralised licence, but now each parish will procure licences themselves according to their needs in accordance with the recommendation agreement.
We believe that decentralised agreements will become more common, because licences which are nearer to the user of the copyrighted works will more closely reflect the use of the works and the needs of the user. For us, decentralisation means that we will get nearer than before to the users and get more accurate information on the use of the works. With this knowledge we will be able to develop our products to always meet the licencing needs of our customers in the most reasonable manner.
Advocacy work through different channels
We have extended the use of various channels of social media in our communications: we want to be where our copyright holders and users of the works also are.
In addition to Kopiosto Uutiset (Kopiosto news) and Kopioston Oppilaitosuutiset (Kopiosto educational institution news) newsletters, we have begun to publish Kopioston Tekijänoikeusuutiset (Kopiosto copyright news), which is aimed at the political decision-makers and legislative counsellors. Its aim has been to present Kopiosto’s viewpoints especially to those who decide on the implementation of the Copyright Directive in Finland.
The directive was in the stage of preparative consultations for the whole year. The aim is to get the government’s proposal for changing the Copyright Act to the parliament during the spring of 2021, so intense advocacy work will continue for the beginning of 2021.
A future full of question marks
In the long run, the coronavirus pandemic may threaten the very foundations of the creative industry and the livelihoods of its people and companies. All national and regional measures supporting the livelihoods of the authors and publishers are important.
Up-to-date and balanced copyright legislature is of great importance for the survival of the creative industry. In the near future, there will only be one major draft amendment to the Copyright Act, the Copyright Directive, so we at Kopiosto will also allocate significant resources to it in 2021.
I want to thank all the personnel and representatives of Kopiosto, who have had the strength to work for the creative industry even in these exceptional circumstances.
Copyright training webinars
2020 was a year of online trainings. We organised three free-of-charge copyright webinars for the professionals of the creative industry: for visual artists, photographers and writers. We arranged five webinars for teachers, of which the most popular turned out to be Tekijänoikeudet etäopetuksessa (Copyrights in distance teaching). All in all, we organised nearly a hundred events to train the teaching staff.
Library reading session videos delighted online
Library reading sessions moved online during the exceptional circumstances of the last spring. The copyright licence, piloted by Kopiosto and Sanasto, made it possible to read fairy tales, novels, poems and prose excerpts, and to show illustrations of books on videos. In two months, the libraries released about 50 videos.
Corona subsidy for the actors of the audiovisual field
In April, AVEK transferred additional funds to the creators of documentaries, short films and media art to alleviate the difficult situation in the audiovisual field. 120,000 euros was allocated in particular to personal grants.
Discussion on expanding compulsory education
In our Oppivelvollisuuden laajentaminen ja maksuttomuus seminar (Seminar on expanding compulsory education and free access), one of the speakers was Minister of Education Li Andersson. She emphasised the pursuit of educational equality by giving everyone the opportunity to complete upper secondary education. Representatives of publishers and non-fiction writers expressed concern that the planned free nature of learning materials could lead to a decline in the appreciation of high-quality, published learning materials due to cost pressures.
©-DAY celebrated copyrights
At the end of April, we celebrated the new ©-DAY copyright day. During the campaign arranged with the other copyright organisations, different actors celebrated the value of creative work in different shades of green. The message reached almost two million Finns.
Warelius Award for Vivi-Ann Sjögren
Author, journalist and actress Vivi-Ann Sjögren received the Warelius Award worth 12,000 euros from the Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers. Sjögren is especially known for her travel and cookbooks. The award is funded by the copyright remunerations we collect.
Afternoon with AVEK
AVEK invited interesting audiovisual actors to discuss current topics in its Iltapäivä AVEKin kanssa (Afternoon with AVEK) podcasts. The subjects of the podcasts included media art and its international nature, writing a manuscript and a book, documentary series and advocacy work of movies.
In recognition of our environmental activities, we were awarded the Green Office designation. In our environmental programme, we paid attention to e.g. the ecology of our procurements, waste sorting and electricity consumption.
Smooth transition to remote working
In the spring, we quickly switched to remote working, for which we were fortunately already well equipped. The personnel survey showed that the personnel of Kopiosto generally considered remote working to be a factor that increases work efficiency and well-being at work.
The biggest changes in Kopiosto’s operational environment in 2020 were due to the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions related to it significantly hampered the employment situation and livelihoods of creative workers.
Activities of the creative industries under threat
A survey conducted by the Ministry of Education and Culture in April 2020 in the creative industries revealed that the pandemic significantly endangered the activities of the arts, culture and creative industries. The cancellations of events and performances as well as face-to-face teaching were a severe blow to many people employed in the creative field.
Several member organisations of Kopiosto said that they had supported creative professionals, among other things, by increasing communication, distributing corona grants and speeding up processing times for normal grants. Organisations were forced to postpone planned projects, as securing the industry’s operational capacity and responding to the increased need for information took up a lot of working hours.
The use of digital services increased
In some fields, the exceptional circumstances have even been beneficial. According to a study commissioned by the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the digital acquisition of cultural and entertainment content.
About a third of the respondents said that their use of digital services has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 33% of the respondents said that they have subscribed to a film or series streaming service, while 20% have subscribed to an audiobook service.
Compared to 2019, listening to radio online increased. Now, about one in two respondents listen to live broadcasts and recorded programmes, such as podcasts, by accessing the online services of radio stations.
Sales of books and audiobooks also grew substantially during the year, by as much as a quarter, according to some publishers.
Legislation was delayed
COVID-19 also indirectly affected the timing of legislative projects. The national transposition of the Copyright Directive and the Satellite and Cable Distribution Directive, which is being prepared by the Ministry of Education and Culture, did not proceed as planned. The draft of the government’s proposal was not sent out for consultation during the autumn parliamentary session but was postponed to the spring instead. The directives must be transposed into Finnish law by 2021 at the latest.
Kopiosto’s licence products also operate remotely
Our licence products cover a wide range of digital uses of materials, so our licenses did not need to be changed for the purposes of distance learning or remote working, which have become more common during the pandemic.
The companies bought our copying licence almost like they did in a normal year, even though some of our customers were financially tested by the corona year.
In addition to teachers’ professionalism and adaptability, the transition to distance learning in educational institutions was supported by a tutor-teacher system, which enabled teachers to get help from colleagues for many problems. The decision of publishers to open digital materials for basic education free of charge for the spring semester facilitated the remote use of learning materials.
It is clear that location independent study and work, as well as a wide range of needs for online use of works, will continue to become more common.
Kopiosto’s licences enabled the smooth use of works even in exceptional circumstances. We also developed our own operations to meet the new needs.
With its licence products, Kopiosto serves educational institutions, the state, municipalities and religious communities, as well as companies and other organisations. Thanks to the licences we grant, our customers can responsibly use audiovisual works in various ways and copy and use copyrighted publications digitally.
The long-term and systematic development of our licence products bore unexpected fruit this year, when the coronavirus pandemic and the remote working and distance teaching it caused revolutionised everyone’s lives. Thanks to our licences, the materials could be used just as smoothly at home, whether the user was a teacher, a pupil or an office worker working from home.
Copyright training webinars
Under normal circumstances, Kopiosto participates in numerous events and arranges copyright trainings in the provinces throughout the year. After their cancellation, the trainings were organised online, and we included webinars as a new form of training in our selection.
During 2020, we provided 95 copyright trainings for teachers and teacher students, 60 of them remotely. The number did not decrease at all due to the pandemic from previous years. There were almost 5,700 participants in the trainings.
The online trainings will certainly continue in the future, as they make it easy to reach a wide customer base from a large area.
Library fairy tale sessions went online
In April, fairy tale sessions, book tips and poetry evenings in libraries went online in a nationwide pilot project. This was made possible by an online licence specifically created for the exceptional time which was agreed between the libraries, Kopiosto and Sanasto. For example, in fairy tale sessions it was possible to read a children’s book and show its illustrations to viewers on video. Literary authors and illustrators received compensation for the use of their works.
54 videos were made in the pilot project, which was ongoing from April to June. They were presented in the libraries’ joint Kirjastokaista video service and on the Helsinki channel, which is the City of Helsinki’s video communication channel.
Use of licences is stable
In 2020, the use of Kopiosto’s licences was in line with the projected amount. The COVID-19 restrictions had little effect on our operations and the use of our licences.
No major changes are expected in the use of copyrighted publications and audiovisual works in 2021 either.
The corona era drove digitalisation forward considerably, and although so far our licences have covered all usage needs, we are monitoring the situation closely. No doubt, digitalisation will give rise to new needs, and our goal is to be able to respond to them quickly in the future as well.
Investing in online services makes transactions as easy as possible for Kopiosto’s copyright holders and member organisations.
In copyright holder services, our main task is to manage the authorisations of the creative professionals represented by Kopiosto, and to pay the copyright remunerations belonging to them.
In 2020, many actors of the cultural field suffered from the restriction measures of the coronavirus pandemic and their income decreased significantly. Thus, it was particularly important for us to be able to pay authors’ and publishers’ remunerations on time. We succeeded in this, and we also tried to speed up the distribution of remunerations where possible. We encouraged our member organisations to distribute additional grants as far as it was financially possible for them.
Compensation for the use of audiovisual works also for member organisations
We distribute the copyright remunerations we collect for the creators of audiovisual works and for the authors and publishers of publications. Remunerations are paid both as individual distributions and through our member organisations.
In the autumn of 2020, for the first time, in addition to individual distributions, audiovisual remunerations were paid collectively to Kopiosto’s member organisations. The organisations distribute the remunerations further to the actors of their field. Remunerations shall be used for the benefit of those working in the industry and of the industry in general that is represented by the organisation.
We will find out how organisations use collective remunerations and report on the use of remunerations to the Ministry of Education and Culture annually.
Smooth online transactions
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, our operations, like many other organisations’, moved online.
In recent years, we have invested in our online services to make transactions with us as smooth as possible. Individual users utilize our services quite infrequently, so their ease of use is especially important.
A good example of this is the Kopiosto report, where independent production companies typically report their work and author information on their productions once a year. The service was upgraded to improve its functionality. We also started online copyright trainings for the actors of our member organisations.
Authorisation status visible
It is possible to join Kopiosto by issuing an authorisation. During the year, we built a new authorisation service that now, for the first time, brings the authorisations of all the copyright holders we represent to the same place. The service will be more widely introduced in the spring of 2021.
Creative professionals can monitor their own situation in the service: what authorisations they have given, to which organisation and in what capacity. They may also supplement their existing authorisations and issue a new authorisation. The authorisation service makes the processing of authorisations more effective and opens up a view of authorisations for copyright holders and our member organisations.
For Kopiosto and our member organisations, the service always provides up-to-date insight on how well we represent the various copyright holders.
The year of commissioning is ahead of us
In 2021, we will invest heavily in the implementation of the authorisation service. We offer support to both our copyright holders and our member organisations in familiarising themselves with the new service.
We will actively collect feedback from the authorisation service and our other online services and continue to develop our operations further to make transactions with us as easy as possible.
In exceptional circumstances, research was paused. This allowed us to invest in development work, such as improving our questionnaire and the use of our tools.
In normal years, we conduct several surveys a year on the use of works in various industries. The information gathered from the surveys on the volumes and use of copying of publications, Internet materials and audiovisual works is utilised as a basis for pricing licences. Similarly, the remunerations paid to the copyright holders are determined based on the survey results.
In early 2020, we had time to do one survey on the use of works in the Evangelical Lutheran Church before the coronavirus pandemic began. In March the conducting of surveys was put on hold, because due to the exceptional circumstances the survey results would not have reflected the normal use of the works anymore.
Towards the end of the year, we conducted surveys in companies and government. In both, we investigated the effects of the coronavirus situation and the consequent increase in remote working on copying in addition to the usual subjects to be examined. Preliminary results support the assumption that the increase in working from home has reduced the amount of copying on paper and printing.
A break in conducting surveys provided an opportunity to focus on research development.
A common challenge in surveys is the low response rate. In our development work, we focused, among other things, on developing the content of our surveys and the ease of use of the questionnaire, as our analytics show that up to half of those who start responding leave our survey unfinished.
Our goal is to make the questionnaire as easy to use and attractive as possible so that respondents would complete the whole questionnaire.
Efficiency from software
By analysing the chain of use of the research data, we found steps related to the application of data that can be made more efficient.
By utilising a R tool specially designed for statistical analysis and modelling, we are able to automate, among other things, the processing of open answers to the survey and perform repetitive calculation tasks with the help of pre-made code. The benefit is faster data processing and reduced probability of errors related to manual calculation.
R software enables the making of learning solutions: for example, it can be taught to bundle together answers that have the same content but are expressed in different ways. R could therefore interpret such open answers as “Kopiosto”, “www.kopiosto.fi” and “Kopisto” as the same source of copying.
Development work continues
Visualisation of the survey results and the development work of the questionnaire will continue during 2021. The revised questionnaire will be tested in the spring and is expected to be utilised in the autumn surveys. New surveys will be carried out at least in municipalities and on the use of audiovisual works in teaching.
Development work will also continue with a new pilot project to improve data collection on Internet copying. Plans include a reporting form that the copier could use to report the source immediately upon copying. The aim is to get additional and more accurate information about copying websites.
In 2020, we distributed almost 66 million euros of copyright remunerations for performing artists, authors, publishers and producers. The amount of remuneration increased exceptionally by EUR 20 million from the previous year.
The increase in distribution was due to the fact that last year we distributed, among other remunerations, a multi-year accumulation of remunerations to APFI, which represents audiovisual producers.
Copyright remunerations were paid to copyright holders both directly and through the organisations that represent them.
The remunerations were collected according to the licences sold to educational institutions, public administration and companies. We also distribute compensation for private copying to authors of audiovisual works from the appropriations based on the state budget and public lending remunerations to visual artists.
In 2020, we paid a total of EUR 39.2 million to the copyright holders of audiovisual works and EUR 21.9 million to the authors and publishers of publications. A total of EUR 1.4 million was paid to visual artists as public lending remunerations.
AVEK, a part of Kopiosto, distributed a total of EUR 3.4 million to the Finnish audiovisual culture and creative industries in 2020. AVEK’s funds are primarily based on the compensations for private copying. AVEK also supports the creative industries with the DigiDemo and CreaDemo appropriations and the Mediarata special appropriation granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The coronavirus pandemic is crippling the audiovisual industry, but AVEK has been able to increase its visibility significantly thanks to virtual interaction. This is directly reflected in the increase of the number of applications.
Despite the pandemic, our operations continued fairly normally in 2020. However, we cancelled the talent development programme planned for the spring and directed approximately EUR 120,000 to personal grants to support audiovisual workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
At the beginning of the year, in order to increase the transparency of our operations, we introduced our grant decision-making process and the decision criteria to our applicants in more detail. Defining our decision criteria internally guarantees equal treatment of applicants.
Applications on the rise
The number of applications increased significantly in 2020 – by 17% – compared to the previous two years. The increase was significant in that the applications for training support and support for international promotion fell sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic. The main reason for the increase in the number of applications is the increased visibility of AVEK and the sharpening of the profile thanks to continuous and active communications. In addition, entrepreneurs in the creative industries sought significantly more support for corona-related innovations.
We wanted to increase contact with applicants, and here the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have even been an advantage. We have met more people virtually than we would have been able to meet face to face. The number of short remote meetings has increased considerably, and we have pointed out that those in need can always contact us.
We have also participated in more events virtually than we would normally have been able to attend.
In the spring, we held the Iltapäivä AVEKin kanssa (Afternoon with AVEK) meeting as a public event and online, but due to the abundant supply of virtual events of the corona era, we expanded our interaction to podcasts. In them, we meet audiovisual professionals and discuss current topics.
We were able to increase our participation in international activities online and bring AVEK forward to the world in line with our goals.
Towards the end of the year, we directed the funds set aside for internationalisation to the awarding of international prizes through various actors. In this way, we wanted to bear our global responsibility as funding for documentary filmmakers in developing countries has shrunk due to the pandemic. After all, the vision of documentary filmmakers is needed now more than ever.
We also funded, among other things, the Nordisk Panorama Festival’s New Nordic Voice Award for a new Nordic actor and the Finnish Film Affair documentary award for promoting international marketing.
Funding must be secured for the future
Our decision-making criteria were renewed at the end of the year. From the beginning of 2021, applicants will already know at the time of application what amount they can apply from AVEK.
At the same time, we are able to increase equality between applicants. In media art, for example, smaller sums have been applied at the design stage than in the making of a film, even though the work is practically similar.
The talent development programme to promote new ways of making and distributing media art and film, which has been shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be launched in 2021.
For 2021, AVEK’s funding for private copying remuneration has already been determined from the state budget. However, the reform of the compensation system mentioned in the government programme was not carried out due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is important to get the reform up and running quickly so that the basis and scope of funding for our activities are clear in 2022 and beyond.
In 2020, Kopiosto’s remunerations amounted to 54.1 million euros, 3.6% more than the previous year.
The remunerations came primarily from the use of audiovisual works and from photocopying and digital use of publications. In addition to these, the remunerations include the compensation for private copying and public lending right scheme as well as grants to AVEK from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The expenses of our operations were 5.1 million euros in total. The previous year, expenses were 5.6 million euros. The decrease in costs is mainly explained by the fact that the previous year’s costs were exceptionally large due to legal proceedings in the Market Court concerning a dispute related to the retransmission of Finnish television channels via cable networks. Additionally, the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on normal operations reduced costs in many respects.
Remuneration funds are invested according to the investment policy approved by Kopiosto’s Board of Directors for the period between collecting licensing revenue and paying our remunerations. In 2020, the returns of investments and financing were in all 0.6 million euros, when the previous year the corresponding figure was 1.0 million euros.
Transfer to funds distributable to copyright holders was 49.6 million euros in total, 5.6% more than the previous year. In 2020, remunerations and grants paid amounted to a total of 65.3 million euros (43.7 the previous year). The considerable increase in the amount of remunerations paid is mainly due to a multi-year dispute between authors and producers about the division of profit from online recording services being settled.