The UJF protects author’s rights. The Copyright Act is supposed to ensure reasonable copyright terms and compensation.
The written, broadcast or graphic results of journalistic work are protected by copyright. Under usual employment agreements, the work one generates belongs to the employer, but with copyrighted material legislation stipulates that this is not the case.
The right to use such material commercially belongs, according to the Copyright Act, to the originator of the work – the journalist, photographer, director or other prime mover – unless he or she contractually relinquishes this right.
It is possible to do this as an employee on the basis of individual work contracts, locally by agreement between the employee and chief shop steward, as well as under a collective agreement negotiated by the union. As with any contract, when you make a copyright agreement it is important to know what rights stem from legislation and the collective agreement, which of these rights can be transferred and what rights and obligations ensue from the copyright agreement.
Freelancers agree on copyright arrangements when they decide with an employer about the assignment they will carry out. The employer can naturally use the piece of work for the intended purpose of the assignment. There s also a separate collective agreement on freelancers’ copyrights. The terms of the sector’s trade practice agreement apply, unless other terms have been agreed.
Apart from journalists’ financial rights to their work, their moral rights to their work are also crucially important. Journalism ethics require that works created professionally must not be used without the consent of the originator in a way that demeans the author of the works, such as for advertising or political propaganda. Also, interviewees and people photographed have rights, and they should be aware of how such material is used.
Copyright agreements – points to remember
- Read agreements carefully before signing
- If any of the text is unclear to you, ask the what it means
- If the agreement contains conditions you do not want to accept, continue negotiating. You are not forced to sign.
- You can suggest additional points to include in the agreement, if you wish.
- If necessary, show the agreement to a shop steward or check with the UJF.
The two main pieces of legislation on copyright are the Copyright Act and the Copyright Decree. These regulations detail all the conditions where copyright does and does not apply to different kinds of creative and related work.
The Ministry of Education and Culture also has an array of website material on copyright issues in Finland.
- Copyright applies to work of sufficient independence and originality.
- Time consuming work does not quality it for copyright cover
- Copyright cover is not dependent on the quality of the work
- The works covered by copyright can be practically any creative output: photography, literary works, art works, music, film, etc.
- Copyright does not apply to reportage or detailing facts for news stories.
- Part of a piece of work may be covered by copyright, as long as it is distinct from the rest of the material and has involved sufficient originality and creativity.
- Copyright applies from the time a piece of work is created until 70 years after the death of the author or originator.
- Related rights (or neighbouring rights) concern works subject to similar cover as copyright, for example include performance, sound and audio-visual recording, broadcasting and broadcast signals, etc.
- Copyright does not apply to government documents, laws, treaties and other information subject to the Act on the Openness of Government Activities.
- Copyright does not apply to ideas, knowledge, programme information, nature or natural phenomena, etc
Organisations in Finland working on copyright issues for different creative sectors:
- Gramex (Copyright Society of Permorming Artists and Phonogram Producers in Finland) furthers the rights of performing artists and phonogram producers, collects remuneration for the use of phonograms and distributes it to those entitled to it.
- Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society Teosto advocates the rights of composers, lyricists, arrangers and producers relating to the public performance and recording of their music.
- Kopiosto deals with rights relating to photocopying, recording and the retransmission of television and radio programmes.
- Kuvasto looks after the rights to visual works (website in Finnish and Swedish only).
- Tuotos is concerned with the rights of independent film and audiovisual producers.
- Sanasto deals with the rights of writers and translators.