News / 20.12.2009

UJF welcomes minister’s rejection of copyright law

Stefan Wallin, the minister for culture and sport, who operates from the Ministry of Education and is also responsible for copyright matters, received nearly 300 statements on the dispute, and decided that the so-called presumption of work contract would not be included into the law.

The proposed change to the law, whereby employers would take over the copyright of journalists and others in creative media, was pushed by the major media companies, and Nokia and the Confederation of Finnish Industries. The proposal aroused stiff opposition among artists, journalists and academics. Journalists unions in the Nordic area and other parts of Europe also backed opposition to the effort to change the law.

Some 16,000 people signed a petition to defend existing copyright arrangements, and over 27,000 people signed up to the Facebook group created to oppose the attempt to change copyrights.

The minister said that the wide differences of view on the issue made it impossible to reach a compromise that would have clarified existing copyright practice.

Wallin said that the current government would not continue with draft legislation concerning copyright. “As far as I’m concerned, the matter is settled.”

UJF general secretary Eila Hyppönen welcomed the minister’s decision and said that it was a victory for people involved in creative work.

“The Union is highly specialised in negotiations and agreements, and in our view it’s extremely important that the law does not interfere with what is laid down by agreements,” said Hyppönen.

She said that the matter sounded a serious warning.

“The procedure was neither honest, fair nor open. There was an effort to force through the demands of the media industry and the unfair advantage promised it behind closed doors in the form of a political decision. In the process it became evident that the proposal was unsupportable. And so it proved.”

Hyppönen said that from time to time over the last 40 years there have been various efforts to undermine copyright, and it remains to be seen how and when the matter resurfaces.

“But we’ve certainly achieved some respite for the time being.”


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