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Amendments to the Copyright Act in circulation for comments 

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 27.9.2021 17.55
Press release

The Ministry of Education and Culture is requesting comments on a proposed bill to implement the provisions of the EU DSM Directive and Online Broadcasting Directive as part of Finnish law.  Implementing the directives requires significant changes to the Copyright Act. The request for comments is published in the service. The deadline for submitting comments is 31 October 2021.

In the draft Government proposal, Finnish copyright law is amended to better take into account situations found in the digital operating environment. The amendments will improve, among other things, opportunities for using copyrighted works in data mining, teaching, and the provision of access to cultural heritage.  

Another aim is to improve the exploitation of works by facilitating licensing and ensuring a well-functioning market for copyright. The interests and rights of users and rightholders and the enforcement of freedom of expression are taken into account in achieving these aims. 
The regulation of transmission and retransmission of TV and radio programmes is also being developed.

The Government’s proposal on amending the Copyright Act is scheduled to be submitted to Parliament in December 2021. The Directive on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (DSM) and the Directive on online transmissions and retransmissions of television and radio programmes entered into force in June 2019.

Key changes 

Access to works is ensured by limitations to copyright – new purposes of use include data mining

The copyright limitations are renewed. Under the DSM Directive, Member States must provide for limitations on copyright for the purposes of data mining, the use of works in teaching and providing access to cultural heritage, and to guarantee freedom of expression. A limitation to copyright means that the author cannot prohibit the use of a work made in accordance with the law. 

The proposed bill would add a new limitation to copyright to allow the creation of reproductions of a work for the purpose of data mining. Authors can, however, prohibit the reproduction of a work for the purpose of data mining or restrict such reproduction by means of contracts or technical measures, unless the data mining is carried out for the purposes of scientific research, in which case data mining may not be restricted. 

The law’s provisions on limitations to copyright allowing the use of works for the purpose ofwithin teaching would be expanded to meet the needs of distance learning and the use of digital means within teaching activities. The draft proposes compensation to authors for the internal, i.e. limited use of works in teaching environments or classrooms. Audiovisual and scenographic works could also be performed within teaching activities and church services.

The DSM Directive seeks to make cultural heritage in archives, libraries and museums more accessible to the public. The Directive provides for the establishment of an EU-wide system that would allow cultural heritage institutions to make works in their collections available to the public once they are out of commerce.

In order to guarantee freedom of expression, the proposed bill includes a copyright limitation permitting caricatures, parodies and pastiches of works as well as social media memes, for example.

Changes to contractual relations and related rights – improvements to the author's standing

The proposed bill would strengthen the status of authors and performing artists in contractual relationships. Authors and performing artists would have the right to information on how their works are exploited commercially. If a work is not exploited commercially, the author would have the right to withdraw the transfer of copyright. In addition, the rights of performing artists to visually recorded performances would be broadened.

The provisions on publishing contracts would give particular consideration to the transition to digital publishing. In order to protect authors, the proposal includes a provision that the right to publish a work as an audiobook or translation is not transferred to the publisher unless expressly agreed upon. 

In order to promote open science, the role of authors would be strengthened by allowing authors to store copies of scientific articles in open access publication archives.

In accordance with the Directive, a proposed new related right of press publishers would be created. The new exclusive right that would address the use of press articles in news aggregators or media monitoring services and would improve the possibilities of publishers to enforce their rights.

Retransmission of ancillary services would be permitted under an extended collective license. The proposal would allow for instance that the ancillary service of the Swedish public broadcasting company, SVT Play (similar to YLE Areena in Finland) to be provided in Finland with the permission of SVT and the relevant collective licensing organisation. 

Content-sharing service providers to be held liable for copyright infringements

The liability of online content-sharing service providers, i.e. social media platforms, for content stored in their service would be expanded and the standing of authors and content creators strengthened. Freedom of expression would be guaranteed. Providers of online content-sharing services would be required to ensure that the service contains no material to which the service does not have rights. The service provider must obtain authorisation from the author or, at the author’s request, prevent access to copyright infringing material also in advance. 

The proposed bill would set up a copyright disputes board, a new dispute settlement body tasked with ensuring the legal protection of content creators and resolving disputes between content creators and rightholders or online content-sharing service providers. The decisions of the board would be recommendations.

Jorma Waldén, Director, tel. +358 295 330338
Viveca Still, Copyright Counsellor, tel. +358 295 330297