Meet our member: Kopiosto in Finland

(c) Suvi-Tuuli Kankaanpää

On 1st July, Finland takes over the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Finland is the number one happiest country in the world, has 3 million saunas (more than they have cars) and Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world (12kg per person per year). Kopiosto, the Finnish copyright organisation, has actively been promoting creative works for more than 40 years, and joined the SAA as a member in 2010.

Kopiosto serves more than 50,000 authors’ work and promotes the creative economy in Finland. Besides audiovisual authors, Kopiosto also represents other authors such as music composers, translators, photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, as well as publishers and performers (musicians, actors). They provide licences for the copying and digital use of works and publications as well as for the various ways of using TV programmes. In 2017, they distributed €50 million of royalties to their members, of which €8,6 million went directly to audiovisual authors. Besides enforcing creators’ rights, they fund awards that give visibility to Finnish creative works as well as grants supporting new projects. Furthermore, Kopiosto is supported by the Finnish National Agency for Education and provides for a ‘Copyright School’ (in Swedish and Finish), offering educational and playful learning material about copyright and authors’ rights from elementary school up until University level, for students and teachers.

I spoke to Arto Tamminen, Director of Licensing Development at Kopiosto and new member of the SAA Board of Directors to learn more.

Why did Kopiosto join the SAA?

Joining the SAA was an easy decision. Kopiosto has always been open to international cooperation, we were a founding member of IFFRO (the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations) and IDA (International Database for Audiovisual Authors). Copyright is international and movies and TV programmes comes from all over. The SAA is a network to learn from each other how to best manage our international repertoires. We also have a longstanding cooperation with the Scandinavian countries.

Being a member of the SAA, we receive more information about what is happening on an EU-level and in other countries. The SAA gives us a stronger voice and as a board member we can be part of influencing authors’ rights for audiovisual works in Europe, in a way that we cannot do on our own.

Even if the situation is different for collective management organisations across Europe, we can still learn a lot from each other. In Finland there are only a handful of people working on these very specific and demanding issues of audiovisual authors’ rights. It is therefore really valuable to have the chance to meet colleagues from other countries who are faced with similar issues, and who have found solutions to problems we have not solved yet.

To illustrate, Arto explained that some EU countries are further along than Finland when it comes to video-on-demand licensing, while the Finnish unique model for licensing of online recording services of TV programmes (so called N-PVR services) can serve as an example for others. Following joint advocacy efforts with a broad audiovisual coalition of major cable operators, broadcasters and other CMO’s, Kopiosto managed in 2015 to put in place a solution for cable operators that offer to record TV programmes for customers to download and view later. It included an amendment to the Finnish Copyright Act for a new extended collective licensing clause and a new licensing model. In 2018, this licence scheme generated €15 million for the authors and producers.

What are the most important issues for Kopiosto at the moment?

One of our main priorities is to tackle the issue of Finnish operators that do not consider their cable distribution of domestic TV channels as a retransmission. This has been on our table for many years and it is a big problem as no remuneration have ever been paid for the retransmission of domestic TV channels. In other Nordic and European countries, retransmission is the oldest and most established area of audiovisual collective licensing and it includes domestic channels. We would like to see the same development in Finland. This is why we filed a lawsuit in January 2018 against the internet service provider Telia. Unfortunately, the case was lost in the Finnish Market Court but might be referred to the Supreme Court. 

Another long-term work that we have started to discuss with our members is the new EU Directives on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and their implication on our work, as it has to be implemented within two years. SAA is a central platform when coordinating the common views on these crucial implementation processes.

A third priority is to continue pushing for audiovisual authors’ unwaivable right to remuneration. Audiovisual authors are in the weakest negotiation position and often forced to give away their rights. It is our role to protect and manage their rights.

We ended with a ‘Nähdään pian’ (“see you soon”) as Kopiosto will kindly host the SAA next Board meeting in Helsinki in September. We might also have the chance to meet in on the 10-11 September as the Finish EU Presidency will organise an Audiovisual Policy Conference on ‘Creation, Innovation and Promotion - Competitiveness of European Audiovisual Industry’.

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