The present Finnish Copyright Act was passed in 1961, and has been altered twenty times since then. The important twenty-first change, adopting national legislation to the EU Directive, took place in October 2005 after a three year controversial preparation process. At the final stage, the Government Bill was heavily criticised and was finally passed after a clause presupposing monitoring of the future development and potential revisions from the point of view of insufficiently considered consumer interests. The critics argued that the new Act is stricter than was required by the EU Directive in respect to private copying and the criminalisation of supplying and possessing programmes for removing copy protection encoding (see chapter 2.9).
Despite the conflict concerning the new Copyright Act, it probably will have, to start with, only minor effects on the functioning of the Finnish copyright system in practice. Within the legislative frame of the Copyright Act, the main copyright and neighbouring rights managing organisations will also in the future be the main protectors of authors’ and producers’ rights and neighbouring rights. The Finnish Copyright Law is based on the premise that the (somewhat extended) contractual collective licence system permits most effectively the use of an author’s work or an artist’s performance when the licence agreement has been reached between the user and the respective copyright compensations collecting Collective Management Organisation (CMO), representing a reasonably high number of authors and performers in the field of the agreement.
Since 1984, there has been a system of collecting levies on copying media. The products that are subject to a levy include, at present, all recordable audio and video devices that are used for private copying, such as blank VHS tapes, CDs, and DVDs, as well as digital audio and video recorders (e.g. mp3 players and HDD video recorders). There is no levy fee on mobile phones, computers, memory cards, game consoles, USB flash drives and 8 cm (3 in) CD / DVD disks. VAT of 9% is added to the levies.
In 2000-2005, the annual returns of the system were around 10-12 million EUR. In 2009 the annual return dropped to 8.8 million EUR and it has been predicted that the sum for 2010 will be as low as 6.4 million EUR. It is proposed that this decline is due to diminished demand for TV digi boxes, as all households have already digi TV; and another proposed cause is the 2008-2010 economic recession which cut off about one third of demand for electronic equipments. In any case the development led to the Government Decree (16.12.2010) which revised the rates of the compensation fees and included external hard drives / discs to the list of copy-levied items. The present Finnish compensation rates can be found at the Wikipedia site en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy.
These returns are allocated by the Ministry of Education and Culture to the main copyright organisations, which distribute them partly directly to the copyright owners, partly as indirect collective compensation for training, R&D and production subsidies. The collective compensations are also administered by the copyright organisations or their promotion centres, such as AVEK, the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture, ESEK (the Performed Music Promotion Centre) and LUSES (the Music Creation Promotion Centre).
The main copyright collecting organisations are Kopiosto (reprographic and digitisation compensation, radio- and television programme retransmission compensation and private copying compensation), Teosto (music authors’ and publishers’ rights compensation, private copying compensation, public music playing compensation) and Gramex (music neighbouring rights compensation, private copying compensation). The total returns to Kopiosto in 2008 were 23.6 million EUR; the corresponding returns in music copyright and neighbouring rights to Teosto were 53.8 million EUR and Gramex – 18.1 million EUR. Other less prominent, but evolving, CMOs are Kuvasto (for visual arts), Sanasto (for writers and translators, 2.3 million EUR) and Tuotos (for producers in the culture industries, 1 million EUR) – altogether 102.1 million EUR.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for copyright legislation and administration. Teosto (see above) has been contracted by the Ministry of Education and Culture to collect the compensation from the levy on media copying. Teosto has a special unit, the Private Copying Unit, for this purpose. The CMOs also have a joint organisation, the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre, for monitoring and preventing copyright violation.
Two specific issues turned out to be problematic in the 2005 revision of the Copyright Act, namely compensation for library loans and the organisation of the collection of re-sale royalties in visual art. Since 1961, the total sum of the annual library loan compensations had been defined as a given per cent share of the book purchase expenditures of public libraries and distributed to the writers and translators via the state budget as grants which they could apply. A similar practice was adopted in compensating music makers for recorded music loans from public libraries. On this basis, the “old” Copyright Act restricted individual rights owners from seeking compensation “privately” for the projected sales losses of their works. In the revision of the Copyright Act, it became fully clear that this restriction was in conflict with the EU Directive on Rental and Lending Rights and Certain Related Rights (92/100/EEC, 2002). Consequently, the text of the Copyright Act now states that the lending right compensations are managed within the framework of a contractual copyright management system and that rights-owners have a CMO of their own. However, so far this has not been put into practice and the immense problem of organising compensation payment for foreign authors has not yet been tackled. The resale compensation system for the works of visual artists, established by an earlier Amendment of the Copyright Act (446/1995), was reorganised to correspond better to the structure and functions of the renovated copyright legislation, that is to say, made to adopt more effectively the contractual collective copyright management model.