4. Law and legislation
Last update: November, 2020
The Estonian Constitution, adopted by the people of Estonia in the referendum held on June 28th 1992, states in the preamble:
“With unwavering faith and a steadfast will to strengthen and develop the state –
- which embodies the inextinguishable right of the people of Estonia to national self-determination and which was proclaimed on February 24th 1918,
- which is founded on liberty, justice and the rule of law,
- which is created to protect the peace and defend the people against aggression from the outside, and which forms a pledge to present and future generations for their social progress and welfare,
- which must guarantee the preservation of the Estonian people, the Estonian language and the Estonian culture through the ages.”
The Constitution guarantees among fundamental freedoms and rights the freedom of speech, self-expression and self-realisation. People can freely disseminate ideas, opinions, beliefs and other information by word, print, picture or other means. This right may be circumscribed by law to protect public order, public morality, and the rights and freedoms, health, honour and good name of others. There is no censorship.
Everyone has the right to education. Education for school-age children is compulsory to the extent specified by the law, and is free of charge in general schools established by the national government and by local authorities. Everyone has the right to be taught in Estonian. The language of teaching in national minority educational institutions is chosen by the educational institution.
According to the Constitution, science and art and their teachings are free, universities and research institutions are autonomous within the limits prescribed by the law.
The rights of an author in respect of his or her work are inalienable. The national government protects authors’ rights.
The Constitution guarantees for everyone to have the right to preserve his or her ethnic identity. National minorities have the right, in the interests of their culture, to establish self-governing agencies under such conditions and pursuant to such procedure as are provided in the National Minorities Cultural Autonomy Act.
Last update: November, 2020
The preparation of the state budget for culture starts at the Ministry of Culture, which prepares a budget proposal, including incomes, expenditures of institutions and support programmes administered by the Ministry. The budget proposal is presented by the Minister of Culture to the Government Cabinet and will, after political negotiations, be presented to the Parliament as a part of the state budget. In the Parliament, the Cultural Committee and represented parties may suggest changes. After approval of the budget, the specified budget for institutions, supporting programmes and investments will be approved by the Minister of Culture. For the administration of the Ministry’s supporting programmes and according to the “arms-length-principle”, the Ministry forms supporting programmes committees, which include Ministry officials and a majority of experts from outside of the Ministry.
Public funds for culture are allocated also in municipal budgets.
The “arms-length principle“ of cultural policy is represented also in the Cultural Endowment, which is the main institution distributing state money for cultural purposes. The Cultural Endowment receives a monthly fixed share of alcohol and tobacco excise duty (3,5%) and gambling tax (47,8%)(whereof 60,6% is allocated to finance cultural buildings of national importance, 35,6% to award grants and support, for administrative expenses). With 3.8% of the gambling tax, the Cultural Endowment supports cultural projects through public universities, where teaching staff can develop their arts’ works.
See also chapter 1.2.2.
Last update: November, 2020
Social protection in Estonia is regulated by general legislation: Employment Contracts Act (2008), State Pension Insurance Act (2001), Health Insurance Act (2002), Unemployment Insurance Act (2001) and Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (2005).
There is no special system for freelance artists to have separate access to the social security system. Many artists work in other fields connected with their art field: education, cultural administrations, media etc.
The Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act was adopted in 2004. The aim of the law is to provide support to creative persons who do not receive regular income. A freelance creative person, who is a member of one of the recognised artistic associations and fulfils the conditions laid down in the Creative Persons and Creatives Associations Act, is entitled to receive support for six months through the artistic association. The amount of this support is the national minimum wage established by the Government of the Republic and the recipient is also guaranteed health insurance. To be eligible for funding, a freelance creative person must apply to their creative union. In case the creative person belongs to several artistic association and has not applied for support from only one association, the application must be submitted to all creative unions of which he or she is a member.
A freelance creative person, who does not belong to a recognised artistic association, but who meets the conditions specified in Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act is eligible to apply for creative support to the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry of Culture forwards the application of the creative person to the creative association representing the respective creative field, which evaluates the compliance of the creative person with the requirements of the Creative Persons and Creative Associations Act and decides on granting the support (see also chapter 2.3).
Dancers and circus artists are entitled to apply for the superannuated pension, regardless of age, when one has worked for at least twenty years at the National Opera, national, municipal or private theatre or a theatre operating as a foundation.
Vocalists or chorus singers and soloists, brass players and puppeteers are entitled to the superannuated pension, when one has worked for at least twenty-five years at a national, municipal or private theatre, a theatre operating as a foundation or at the National Opera.
Last update: November, 2020
The Law on Value Added Tax (2003) stipulates a standard VAT rate of 20% (since July 2009). A reduced rate is 9% (since July 2009) of the taxable value and it includes printed books, workbooks used as learning materials, printed newspapers, magazines and other periodical publications excluding publications mainly containing advertisements or personal announcements, or publications the content of which is mainly erotic or pornographic. Since April 2020, VAT on e-books is equal with printed books (9%).
In Estonia since 2000, the Income Tax Act includes provisions for both individuals and companies. Taxable income for residents includes income from employment (such as salaries, wages and other remuneration), personal business income, interest, royalties, rental income, capital gains, pensions and scholarships except scholarships financed from state budget, paid on the basis of law or Cultural Endowment.
Non-residents pay income tax on their income from Estonian sources. Income taxable in Estonia includes, subject to certain conditions, income from employment or government services provided in Estonia, and royalties. Income of a sportsman or an artist from his activities in Estonia is subject to income tax in Estonia for 10% or as it is agreed in the bilateral tax-contract between Estonia and resident country.
Income tax rate for residents on royalties is 20% and for non-residents 10%.
In Estonia, companies’ profits are not subject to tax when they are earned, but the moment of taxation is deferred until the distribution of profits. According to the Income Tax Act § 11, the Tax and Customs Board holds the list of non-profit associations, foundations (including cultural and educational) and religious associations benefiting from income tax incentives. An NGO, foundation or religious association (hereinafter association) which meets the following requirements shall be entered in the list:
- the association operates in the public interest;
- the association operates for charitable purposes, offering goods, services or other benefits primarily free of charge or in another non-revenue seeking or publicly accessible manner;
- the association does not distribute its assets or income, grant monetarily appraisable benefits to its founders, members, members of the management or controlling body, persons who have made a donation to the association during the last twelve months or to the members of the management or controlling body;
- upon dissolution of the association, the assets remaining after satisfaction of the claims of the creditors shall be transferred to an association entered in the tax incentives list or to a legal person in public law;
- the administrative expenses of the association correspond to the character of its activity and the objectives set out in its articles of association;
- the remuneration paid to the employees and members of the management or control body of the association does not exceed the amount of remuneration normally paid for similar work in the business sector.
Inscription on the list of associations (the total of such NGOs and foundations was ca 2 500 in January 2020) benefiting from income tax incentives shall give the association an opportunity to receive income tax incentives from donations and gifts (from business companies who otherwise have to pay 20% income tax), and pay scholarships and grants exempt from income tax under certain conditions.
The legal persons may give tax-free gifts and donations to such associations entered in the list within certain tax exemption limits:
- 3% incrementally of the total of payments that include individually registered social tax from the beginning of the calendar year, or
- 10% of the taxpayer’s profit of the last fiscal year ending on 1st January of the calendar year.
Certified gifts and donations can be deducted from a natural person’s income, if these are made to the person entered into such list of non-profit associations, foundations and religious associations benefiting from income tax incentives. A natural person taxpayer may deduct gifts and donations (together with in the total amount of EUR 1 200 but not more than 50% of the taxpayer's income during the year of taxation).
The ruling Minister of Culture has made a political statement in January 2020 that he plans to amend the Income Tax Act so that the income tax exemption also extends to donations to the Cultural Endowment. Currently, companies pay 20% income tax on the amounts they donate to the Cultural Endowment, and as a result, there are virtually no donations of that kind to the Cultural Endowment.
Employers pay social tax on payments to natural persons, which is 33%.
Gambling tax paid into the state budget is divided as follows: 47,8% shall be transferred to the Cultural Endowment of Estonia; 12.7% shall be allocated for regional investment aid programme; 10,1% for projects related to science, education, children and young people; 15,3% for projects related to families, medicine, welfare, elderly persons, disabled persons and people with gambling addiction; and 14,1% for projects related to culture, sports and Olympic preparation.
Last update: November, 2020
The labour legislation in Estonia is quite liberal and offers a lot of flexibility in agreeing on terms and conditions of employment. Regulations regarding employment and labour contracts are regulated by the Employment Contracts Act. An employment contract is concluded usually for an unspecified period, but an exception is stated in the Performing Art Institutions Act. A fixed-term employment contract may be entered into with artists for up to five years, if it is justified by the specific nature of their creative work. If more than two consecutive fixed-term employment contracts have been concluded with an artist for the performance of similar work in the same position or if the fixed-term contract has been renewed more than once in five years, his or her employment relationship shall be deemed to be for an unspecified term from the beginning. More than two consecutive fixed-term employment contracts may be entered into with an artist or the fixed-term contracts may be renewed more than once in five years, if such an opportunity has been agreed in the collective agreement and on the condition that it is necessary due to the specific nature of creative work and the total duration is not more than ten years. Upon consecutive entry into or renewal of fixed-term employment contracts with an artistic director or a general manager of a performing arts institution, the employment relationship shall not turn into an employment relationship established for an unspecified term.
A collective agreement is a voluntary agreement between employees and their employer which can establish the terms and conditions for work, and is regulated by the Collective Agreements Act (1993). Such contracts are common in orchestras and other bigger cultural organisations.
According the Trade Unions Act, a trade union or an authorised representative of employees (e.g. a trustee of employees) has the right to collective bargaining in the company. The trustee of employees has the right to collective bargaining if no trade union is formed at the company or no employees belonging to a union work at the company.
The Collective Labour Dispute Resolution Act regulates the procedure for the resolution of collective labour disputes and the organisation of strikes and lock-outs.
Last update: November, 2020
The Constitution of the Republic of Estonia states: “The rights of an author in respect of his or her work are inalienable. The national government protects authors’ rights.”
Supervising the enforcement of copyright legislation is under the Ministry of Justice.
The Copyright Act (1992) grants authors with protection for their intellectual creations. Copyright protection in Estonia also enables authors to benefit from moral and economic rights. Moral rights cannot be transferred, while the economic rights can be transferred or licensed with fee or without. Copyrights in Estonia are protected for the author’s lifetime plus seventy years after his or her passing. The Copyright Act creates a legal framework and conditions for authors as well as neighbouring rights: performers, producers of phonograms, broadcasting service providers, producers of first fixations of films and makers of databases. The legislation is harmonised with the EU directives.
Estonia has joined the following conventions: The Berne Convention (1994), The Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (1999) and The International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (1999). Estonia is also member of WIPO Copyright Treaty (2010), WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (2010), Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (2000) and European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production (1997).
Last update: November, 2020
The Personal Data Protection Act came in force in January 2019. It establishes, in conformity with the EU's general regulation, a few exceptions to the general principle of the processing of personal data for journalistic purposes, and also for the purpose of historical and scientific research. Personal data may also be processed without the consent of the data subject for the purpose of academic, artistic and literary expression, in particular disclosed if this does not cause excessive damage to the rights of the data subject.
The Data Protection Inspectorate makes sure that people’s personal data is sufficiently protected. The Inspectorate also ensures that information on the activity of institutions, i.e. public information, is sufficiently available. The right to the protection of personal data and the right to public information are constitutional rights in Estonia. The constitution also grants everybody the right to inquire about the data collected about their person.
Last update: November, 2020
Language policy is governed by the Ministry of Education and Research. The first Language Act was passed by the Parliament already in 1934. After reindependency, the law was passed in 1989, and the Language Act which is in force now was passed in the Parliament in 2011.
The purpose of Act is to develop, preserve and protect the Estonian language and ensure the use of the Estonian language as the main language for communication in all spheres of public life. The Language Act regulates the use of the Estonian language and foreign languages in oral and written administration, public information and service, the use of Estonian sign language and signed Estonian language, the requirements for and assessment of the proficiency in the Estonian language, exercise of state and administrative supervision over compliance with the requirements provided in this Act.
The use of language of legal persons in private law and natural persons is regulated if it is justified for protection of fundamental rights or in the public interest. For the purposes of this Act, public interest means public safety, public order, public administration, education, health, consumer protection and occupational safety. The establishment of requirements concerning use of and proficiency in Estonian shall be justified and in proportion to the objective being sought and shall not distort the nature of the rights which are restricted.
The rights of persons using a foreign language, including the language of national minorities shall be ensured in compliance with other acts and international agreements. The measures to support foreign languages shall not damage Estonian.
Last update: November, 2020
After the administrative reform in Estonia, cultural work is also a part of the Local Government Organisation Act since 2018. It states that the functions of a local authority include organisations in the rural municipality or city: the provision of social services, the grant of social benefits and other social assistance, welfare services for the elderly people, cultural, sports and youth work etc. The Act also obliges the local government to have a development plan that shall stipulate, among other topics, long-term directions and needs for the development of cultural activities and organisation in local authorities.
Last update: November, 2020
Cultural legislation is prepared by the Ministry of Culture, but not all fields of culture are covered by this. The General Principles of Cultural Policy up to 2020 (see chapter 1.1) state that when drafting legislation in the field of culture, the state regards the development directions of the legal policy in order to avoid over-regulation of the field. However, there are several acts that define the establishment of institutions or operations, governing such institutions, structures and financing principles.
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia Act states that the endowment is a legal person in public law, the objective of the activities of which is to support the arts, folk culture, physical fitness and sport, and the construction and renovation of cultural buildings by the purposeful accumulation of funds and distribution thereof for specific purposes.
The Cultural Endowment shall pay benefits for projects, activities, creative work, life’s work, jubilees, medicinal products and funerals, awards and grants which shall be deemed to be state awards and grants paid from the state budget, i.e. these grants and awards are not subject to income or social tax (see also chapter 1.2.2).
The State Cultural Awards and Grants Act states the principles, number and types of the state cultural awards and grants. The cultural awards of Estonia are designated for outstanding creative achievements in the field of culture. The award shall be designated to a natural person. Each year, a day before Independency Day (23rd of February), three awards for long-term outstanding creative activity and five awards for outstanding works that have reached the public in the preceding calendar year will be solemnly delivered. In addition, the State F. J. Wiedemann Language Award is granted each year to one natural person for outstanding merits upon study, organisation, teaching, promotion or use of the Estonian language.
The cultural grants of the Republic of Estonia are designated to support the cultural projects and creative orders that are essential from the perspective of the national cultural policy or for study support in foreign higher educational or research institutions. The grant may be designated to a natural person, legal person or authority. Twenty grants shall be designated each year by the Minister of Culture (see also chapter 7.2.3).
Table 2: List of cultural legislation in Estonia
|Performing Art Institutions Act||2003|
|Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act||2005|
|Commissioning of Artworks Act||2011|
|State Cultural Awards and Grants Act||1998|
|Act to Regulate Dissemination of Works which Contain Pornography or Promote Violence or Cruelty||1998|
|Public Libraries Act||1998|
|Legal Deposit Copy Act||1997/2017|
|Heritage Conservation Act||2002/2019|
|Act on the Return of Cultural Objects Unlawfully Removed from the Territory of a Member State of the European Union||2004|
|Intra-Community Transport, Export and Import of Cultural Objects Act||2008|
|National Minorities Cultural Autonomy Act||1993|
|Legal persons in public law|
|Cultural Endowment of Estonia Act||1994|
|Estonian Public Broadcasting Act||2007|
|National Opera Act||1998|
|National Library of Estonia Act||1998|
|Media and copyright|
|Media Services Act||2011|
Table 3: Conventions implemented by Estonia
|Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions||2006|
|Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage||2006|
|Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage||1996|
|Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property||1996|
|Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms||2000|
|International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations||2000|
|The Hague Convention of May 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict||1995|
|Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict||2005|
|Second Protocol to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict||2005|
|Statutes for the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)||2001|
|Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials||2002|
|Protocol Annexed to the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific And Cultural Materials||2002|
|Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works||1994|
|WIPO Copyright Treaty||2010|
|WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty||2010|
Last update: November, 2020
In February 2019, the Parliament passed the new Heritage Conservation Act. The objectives of this Act are the preservation and diversity of cultural heritage, which is ensured with the following activities:
- preservation and protection of cultural monuments, heritage conservation areas and the environments of cultural value surrounding thereof;
- protection of archaeological finds and protected archaeological sites;
- safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage.
The Heritage Conservation Act applies to the designation of monuments, heritage conservation areas, protected archaeological sites, organising the protection and preservation of monuments and archaeological finds.
The new Act balances the rights and obligations of the state with those of the owners of cultural monuments, creating for the first time a compensation system for monument owners. In the new Act, the activities of the National Heritage Board will include both heritage conservation and museum fields (see also chapter 3.1).
According to the Museums Act, museums are supported directly from the state budget, local government budgets and also from university budgets. In accordance with the General Principles of Cultural Policy, the owner of a museum collection shall ensure the basic financing for fulfilling the main tasks of a museum.
Direct support from the state budget is given to state museums. In addition to the Ministry of Culture, some state museums belong to the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of the Interior.
The basis for financing the activities of foundations with state participation, of museums operated by local governments, and of persons in public law and private persons, is the Regulation by the Minister of Culture entitled “Procedure for the application for and distribution of resources allocated to the Ministry of Culture from the state budget to support the activities of museums”. For the decision making about grants such NGOs as the Estonian Museum Society and the ICOM Estonia National Committee are involved in shaping cultural policy and the realisation of activities as well as developing and increasing their network of volunteer members and organisational capacity, increasing their quality of traditional as well as innovative activities, also internationality.
The Museums Act enables state museums and museums operating as state foundations to apply for the grant of state guarantee of compensation to cover any material damage caused to the owners of exhibition. When planning a temporary exhibition containing objects of significant artistic or historical value, the museum can apply for this specific grant. The decision regarding the guarantee of the compensation of damage to the exhibition is made by the Minister of Culture.
The scope of the Museums Act is to define a museum, but it also provides the bases for the organisation of the museum collection, activities of the museum, the insurance of a museum object and conditions for compensation by the state for the damage caused to the owner of an international exhibition. The Museums Act applies to state museums administered by the Ministry of Culture, operating as a museum and a structural unit thereof, and to a governmental authority operating as a museum in the area of government of the Ministry and the structural unit thereof, and foundation type museums - founded by the state and a structural unit thereof.
According to the Museums Act, a museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, preserves, researches and communicates the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, research and enjoyment. Upon the performance of its functions, a museum shall, among other, take account of the needs of children and disabled persons.
A museum object is an object of cultural value registered in a museum, for which records are maintained pursuant to the international principles of museum documentation. A museum collection is a collection of museum objects, which may be divided into sub-collections according to the groups or types of museum objects.
See also chapters 3.1. and 6.1.
In 2011, the Commissioning of Artworks Act came into force in Estonia, in order to bring more art into the public space. The Act regulates the obligation to commission works of art related to the construction of public buildings with the purpose to improve the public space aesthetically. Such buildings are for instance office buildings, administrative buildings, schools, healthcare buildings and social welfare buildings. The total price of an artwork without the value added tax shall be at least 1% of the construction price but not more than EUR 65 000.
The Act on the Return of Cultural Objects Unlawfully Removed from the Territory of a Member State of the European Union regulates the return to a Member State of the European Union of cultural objects which have been unlawfully removed from the territory of that state and brought to Estonia. In the Act, a cultural object means an object which is classified or defined by a Member State under national legislation, before or after its unlawful removal from the territory, as being among the national treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value within the meaning of Article 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. State supervision upon the return of unlawfully removed cultural objects shall be exercised by the National Heritage Board. The Police and Border Guard and Tax and Customs Board shall assist, within the limits of their competence, in locating these cultural objects within the territory of Estonia.
The Intra-Community Transport, Export and Import of Cultural Objects Act provides the processing of export licenses of cultural objects; expert assessments of items and referrals of items or cultural objects to expert assessments; customs formalities upon export of cultural objects and liability for violation of this Act; and the organisation of exercise of state supervision. For the purposes of this Act, cultural objects are defined as having historical, archaeological, ethnographic, artistic, scientific or other cultural value. A few examples are:
- buildings or parts of buildings and architectural details and accessories located in Estonia which are older than 75 years;
- archaeological findings, coin treasures and parts of coin treasures originating from the time before 1721;
- works of sacramental art or sacred objects related to Estonian cultural space made before 1945 and sacred printed matter older than 100 years;
- Estonian ethnographic objects, including national costumes and the accompanying jewellery originating from the time before 1945;
- works of visual arts and applied art of Estonian artists which are unique or of limited edition made before 1945;
- films, sound recordings or other technically recorded material on original carrier media which are older than 50 years and related to Estonian cultural history;
- musical instruments made in Estonia before the year 1950.
For the purpose of this Act, a cultural object can also be something that has been declared a cultural monument on the basis of the Heritage Conservation Act or something placed under temporary protection.
A person may transport or export a cultural object out of Estonia on the basis of a license issued by the National Heritage Board, which he or she shall submit to a customs official in case of export of the cultural object. A customs official may, based on evaluation of risks, ask for an export license also in case of intra-community transport of goods. An export license is either permanent or temporary. In the case of temporary intra-community transport or export, a person is obliged to bring the cultural object back to Estonia. A monument or an item under temporary protection may be transported or exported out of Estonia only temporarily.
Last update: November, 2020
The activities of theatrical and music institutions are primarily governed by the Performing Arts Institutions Act and National Opera Act.
This Act regulates the activity of performing arts institutions, which operate as a foundation founded by the state or with the participation of the state or as a local government institution. The Act regulates the activities of the performing arts institutions operating as legal persons in private law only insofar as it is specified in the Act. The Ministry of Culture has initiated the updating of the Performing Arts Institutions Act.
The Performing Art Institutions Act provides the definition of a performing arts institution, the bases for the organisation of activities, the financing of performing arts institutions and the reporting by performing arts institutions. According to the Act, a performing arts institution is an institution:
- which organises regularly public presentations of the creative work of authors and performers in the form of performances and concerts;
- which is in employment relations with persons engaged in creative activities;
- which has an artistic director and an artistic council;
- which informs the public of performances or concerts.
The National Opera Act provides the objective, functions and legal status of the Estonian National Opera (Rahvusooper Estonia) as well as the organisation of management and activities. The objective of the National Opera is to advance Estonian national theatrical and musical culture, promote and introduce it in Estonia and abroad and to make the world’s achievements of musical and theatrical culture accessible in Estonia. According to the Act, the functions of the national opera are:
- regular organisation of public presentations of works created in the genre of opera, ballet, operetta and music in the form of performances and concerts;
- ensuring the high artistic level of performances and concerts;
- purposeful promotion of the repertoire of the Estonian original musical theatre, ordering new works from authors and the use thereof;
- introduction of valuable works of world’s musical and theatrical culture and introduction of high-level guest performers in the form of performances and concerts;
- introduction of its performances, singers, dancers and musicians abroad;
- ensuring the application of singers, dancers and musicians trained in Estonia and enabling the in-service training thereof;
- creation of conditions for the creative development of the artistic personnel of the national opera;
- organisation of the recording of its performances and concerts;
- participation in the international co-operation of musical theatres.
The National Opera is a legal person in public law operating on the basis of this Act, other legislation and its articles of association. The provisions of the Performing Arts Institutions Act apply to the National Opera in the cases provided for in this Act.
The purpose of the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act is to support cultural creativity, the preservation and development of fine arts at a professional level and to improve conditions necessary for the creative activity of creative persons through artistic associations and to create guarantees therefor. For the purposes of the Act, a creative person is an author or a performer within the meaning of the Copyright Act, who acts in one of the following fields as a freelancer: architecture, audiovisual arts, design, performing arts, sound arts, literature, visual arts or scenography. An artistic association is a non-profit association that is recognised pursuant to the procedure provided for in this Act, the purpose of which is to promote one artistic field and support the creative activities of creative persons who are members of the artistic association.
See also chapters 1.2.5, 4.1.3 and 3.3.
Last update: November, 2020
The Commissioning of Artworks Act came into force in Estonia in 2011. The law establishes the principle that a part of the construction budget of a public building must go into the commissioning of artwork for that building. This Act regulates the obligation to commission works of art related to the construction of public buildings with the purpose to improve the public space aesthetically. For the purposes of the Commissioning of Artworks Act, a public building is a building meant for public use to which third persons have total, partial, permanent or temporary access in addition to the members of staff and officials of the agency. The total price of an artwork, which must be commissioned by contracting agency, shall be at least 1% of the construction price (without VAT) but not more than EUR 65 000.
See also chapter 3.4.
Last update: November, 2020
The National Library of Estonia Act provides the legal status, purpose, functions, management, financing and administrative supervision over the activity of the National Library of Estonia (Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu). The National Library is a legal person in public law, operating on the basis of this Act. The purpose of the National Library is to increase the initiative, awareness and responsibility based on knowledge and information in the society, and promote the country, European common values, culture and democracy. According to the Act, upon implementation of its purpose, the National Library shall operate pursuant to UNESCO recommendations for national and parliamentary libraries.
The Public Libraries Act provides the bases for the organisation of the activities, collections, service, management and financing of public libraries. The Act defines the purpose of public libraries to ensure free and unrestricted access to information, knowledge, achievements of human thought and culture for inhabitants, to promote lifelong learning and individual development. For the purposes of this Act, a public library is a local government agency, it collects, stores and makes available for readers the publications, audiovisual items and other items and public databases they need. A public library shall operate pursuant to this Act, other legislation, the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, and its statutes.
The Legal Deposit Copy Act establishes the procedure and conditions for submission to a legal deposit copy of a publication published, distributed or made accessible to the public in Estonia. It also applies to the digital dataset used for the production thereof and for preservation and making accessible of a legal deposit copy. The purpose of this Act is to ensure the creation, long-term preservation and consistent accessibility of the most comprehensive collection of publications essential to the Estonian culture and their output-ready files if other copies of the publications are not available. The Act applies to printed publications and other publications on physical media with at least fifty copies, and to web publications that are publicly accessible.
See also chapter 3.2.
Last update: November, 2020
The Media Services Act states the procedure and principles for provision of audiovisual media services and radio services and the requirements for providers of media services. It also provides the procedure for issuing activity licenses for TV- and radio-channels and the procedure for the registration of the provision of on-demand audiovisual media services. The Act gives the principles of protection of a person who has provided information to a person for journalistic purposes. According to the Act, audiovisual media services are: television service which is provided on the basis of the programme schedule for simultaneous viewing of programmes, on-demand audiovisual media service which is provided for the viewing of programmes at the moment chosen by the user at the individual choice and request, audiovisual commercial communication and other similar services provided in the course of economic activities, except for services that do not compete with television service.
The Estonian Public Broadcasting Act provides the legal status, objective, functions, financing, and organisation of management and activities of Estonian Public Broadcasting (Eesti Rahvusringhääling). Public Broadcasting is a legal person in public law. The objective of Public Broadcasting is to assist in the performance of the functions of the Estonian state provided by the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. For such purposes, Public Broadcasting shall create programme services, produce and mediate programmes and organise other activities which, separately or as a set shall:
- support the development of the Estonian language and culture;
- enhance the guarantees of the permanence of the Estonian state and nation and draw attention to the circumstances which may pose a threat to the permanence of the Estonian state and nation;
- assist in the increase of the social cohesion of the Estonian society;
- assist in the increase of the economic well-being and competitive ability of Estonia;
- assist in the promotion of the democratic form of government;
- explain the need for the economical use and sustainable development of the natural environment;
- enhance the family-based model of society;
- assist in the audio-visual recording of the Estonian history and culture;
- guarantee the availability of the information needed by each person for his or her self-realisation.
The Act to Regulate Dissemination of Works which Contain Pornography or Promote Violence or Cruelty states that dissemination and exhibition to minors of works which contain pornography or promote violence or cruelty is prohibited. Transmission of television or radio broadcasts that contain pornography or promote violence or cruelty, by persons who have the right to transmit television or radio broadcasts in Estonia, are also prohibited. An expert committee under the Ministry of Culture determines the content of works in the cases specified in the Act.
There are no laws for design or creative services.