News / 16.03.2015

Creative sector trade unions see new copyright law as a step in the right direction

The Creators’ Forum has welcomed the new Copyright Act but stresses the need to strengthen the bargaining position of creative professionals. 

The Finnish parliament has voted in favour of amendments to the Copyright Act, to include a provision for settling the terms and conditions of copyright transfers. The Creators’ Forum, a network of 37 creative sector unions, welcomes the move towards including fairer provisos in legislation.

“It shows that the viewpoint of creative workers has been heard and the problem recognized,” says UJF lawyer Sanna Nikula.

But the Creators’ Forum, representing about 50 000 creative sector workers, also stresses that the amended act does not include anything definite to improve the situation of the authors of creative works.

This was also pointed out by the Parliamentary Education and Culture Committee, which questioned whether the special provision included in the new act would improve the status of the original copyright holder.

Creative sector trade unions are wondering what the changes to the act on this issue aim to achieve.

The lack of specifics means that the authors of creative work are in just as vulnerable a position as they were before, for instance in terms of negotiating agreements concerning copyright transfer. It is usually a case of the lone entrepreneur or freelancer on one side and a large enterprise on the other. 

Collective bargaining rights, where trade unions could negotiate terms on behalf of authors, would go some way to improving the situation. But the new act contains no such provision.

The right of creative sector unions to take legal action would also improve the scope for tackling unfair contractual terms, which are hard for musicians, journalists, artists and others to address on their own.

Creative sector unions hope that following elections in April the new government will support their efforts to improve the bargaining position of creative workers and make contractual Ts & Cs fairer. They also hope that employers’ organisations will join the discussion on ways to improve contractual and bargaining procedures.

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