Tell us about yourself.
Anu: I am Anu Kähkönen, Chief Steward of Yle’s programme production employees.
Ismo: I am Ismo Huhtanen, Legal Director at News Media Finland.
What is your background?
Anu: I have worked at Yleisradio since 1994, first as a sound engineer and then as a sound designer. I spent most of my time working with classical music. In addition to my work, I was the shop steward of production employees for several years before being appointed as Chief Steward for the 2019–2020 term. At the beginning of this year, I started my second term as Chief Steward.
Ismo: I have been the Legal Director of News Media Finland and an expert at the Finnish Media Federation since August. I have long experience in publishing and communication. Before starting in my position at News Media Finland, I worked in various legal positions at the Sanoma Group for over 20 years. At Sanoma, I was responsible for the Group’s IPR matters and providing legal support to procurement processes and media businesses in Finland. I was also the legal counsel of the editorial staff of the papers. I have been representing the interests of media both at an EU and national level in Finland for nearly 20 years.
How did you end up in the Kopiosto Board of Directors?
Anu: I represent the Union of Finnish Radio and TV Journalists in the Board of Directors of the Union of Journalists in Finland and I am the chair of the union’s copyright committee. When Anna-Liisa Haavikko retired from the Kopiosto Board of Directors, this seemed like the obvious choice.
Ismo: I represent newspaper and magazine publishers in the Kopiosto Board of Directors. I believe that my strong, diverse experience in publishing and matters concerning copyrights, particularly in a changing digital operating environment, have helped me in my appointment. I have also represented the unions of newspaper and magazine publishers in a Kopiosto working group regarding an extended collective licence for the use of works in teaching for nearly 15 years, ever since the group was set up.
What do you think is important in the work of the Board of Directors?
Anu: The organisation and systematic nature of the work of the Board of Directors is important. Representatives of various organisations give voice to their representees, and the objective of operations is to seek solutions that please everyone. Ultimately, the work is about securing the rights and compensations for authors in creative industries.
Ismo: In the work of the Board of Directors, it is important to understand different perspectives and, through discussion, manage the operations of the community in a way that takes the interests and possible concerns of the members of the community into account in a fair and equal way. It is important to focus on the essential, understand the constant change of the operating environment, support and encourage the staff and develop the community’s strategic operations.
How do you see the position of copyrights in the future?
Anu: The constantly increasing number of distribution channels pose certain challenges to protecting copyrights, and the current methods may not necessarily be adequate.
Ismo: In order for copyright protection to withstand the test of time in a constantly changing operating environment, the significance of copyright protection must be communicated efficiently in various ways. Copyrights are still a very important mode of protection and enabler for press businesses, for example.
How did the exceptional times in 2020 affect your work and the work of the copyright holders you represent?
Anu: The exceptional circumstances did not affect my work hardly at all. The job opportunities cancelled as a result of the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, on the other hand, had an impact on the income of the copyright holders, especially freelancers.
Ismo: I have been working remotely since March 2020, apart from the end of the summer. I set up my remote office in a storage room in the neighbouring stairwell and at the kitchen table at home, meetings were arranged in Teams and all other contacts were made through various digital channels. When I started in my new position at News Media Finland in August, I learned to appreciate how important even minor physical social contacts are in a new job. Newspaper and magazine publishers and editorial staffs also started working remotely extensively. There is no doubt that many papers made the digital leap. Financially, 2020 was very demanding for newspaper and magazine publishers due to the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, the profit from sales of advertising space in newspapers and magazines decreased significantly, by up to EUR 100 million, according to an estimate. A significant number of newspaper and magazine publishers applied for and were granted the small media support awarded by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency for the promotion of journalistic content, a total of EUR 7.5 million, in December.
Are you entitled to copyright remunerations?
Anu: I was in my previous job as a sound designer. The Chief Steward’s position at Yle is a full-time job, so I am not entitled to any copyright remunerations anymore.
What are your hobbies?
Anu: In addition to my work, I have had almost no other hobbies besides studying in recent years. I am studying administrative sciences at the University of Eastern Finland. Whatever free time I have left I try to use on exercising and relaxing.
Ismo: Reading, visual arts, music and writing. Once the restrictions placed due to the pandemic are lifted, my hobbies will again include basketball and dancing.
What cultural experiences have been particularly important to you lately and why?
Anu: I had only very little cultural experiences last year. I used to go to the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s concerts frequently, and they became cultural experiences when I stopped working as a sound designer and became part of the audience. The cultural space left by the coronavirus pandemic has been occupied by the FRSO’s streamed concerts.
Ismo: During the exceptional year of the coronavirus pandemic, my cultural experiences were heavily based on literature, music and visual arts. Domestic experiences included the debut short story of Marko Järvikallas titled Mihin täällä voi mennä, the album titled Foghornia by Tapani Rinne and Maiju Salmenkivi’s gallery exhibition in the autumn. They are all aware of the times without forgetting the past.
What is/are your motto/slogan/words of wisdom?
Anu: “Just keep trying, it’s all you can do!” Meaning that it is always worth trying even if something seems impossible.
Ismo: The installation of the visual artist Maria Stereo has a nice message for various situations: “Our friendship will not last if we do not give each other feedback about our behaviour.”
Interviewer: Ria Korkiakangas
Photo of Anu Kähkönen: Henrietta Hassinen
Photo of Ismo Huhtanen: Maria Miklas