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Proposal for amendments to the Copyright Act submitted to Parliament

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 13.4.2022 13.20 | Published in English on 26.4.2022 at 15.47
Press release

The Government proposes amendments to the Copyright Act and the Act on Electronic Communication Services. The legislative amendments bring the provisions of Finnish legislation in line with the European Union's Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and the Directive on online transmissions of broadcasting organisations. The transposition of these directives is the most significant reform of national copyright legislation in two decades.

The proposed amendments promote the use of digital technologies, access to works across borders, wider access to works and a well-functioning copyright market.  

The amendments also promote the dissemination of television and radio programmes and the licensing of copyright and related rights in works and other protected subject matter contained in broadcasts of the programmes. It is proposed that the exclusive rights of performers relating to audiovisual recordings be extended.

It is proposed that the Act on Electronic Communication Services be amended so that, instead of provisions on liability related to certain service providers, the provisions in the new chapter 6a of the Copyright Act would apply to online content-sharing services. 

The standardised legislative framework that the Copyright Directive has created means that the Digital Single Market will be less fragmented and can promote innovation, creativity, investment and the production of new content. 

The Directive on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive) and the Directive on online transmissions of broadcasting organisations entered into force in June 2019. The amendments were to be transposed into the legislation of the Member States by June 2021.
The proposed national acts are scheduled to enter into force on 1 January 2023.  

Use of works in the digital environment to be made easier

The amendments to the Copyright Act will make it easier to use works in a digital environment on the basis of provisions on limitations as well as facilitate the clearance of rights in certain cross-border situations of a special nature. It is proposed that the Act explicitly limit copyright to the benefit of text and data mining and to promote freedom of expression, for example for creating memes. 

Cultural heritage institutions would be able to use works that are considered to be out of commerce by virtue of extended collective licencing, and under certain conditions, by virtue of limitations to copyright, if no representative extended licencing organisation exists.

The amendments to the provisions on the use of works and other subject matter for teaching purposes are limited to the amendments required by the Directive, which apply in particular to purposes such as distance learning and digital uses in cross-border situations. The proposed regulation is based on extended collective licencing, which is complemented by a copyright limitation to the extent that no licences for illustration for teaching are available. The illustrative use of freely available videos in teaching will be promoted.

Improvements to the position of authors, performers and publishers of press publications

It is proposed that the position of authors and performers who are in a contractual position be strengthened. These rightholders would have the right to receive appropriate and proportionate remuneration for the use of their works and information on the commercial and non-commercial exploitation of their works. Where there is a lack of exploitation of works within a reasonable period of time, authors and the performers would have the right to revoke the transfer of copyright. 

By increasing transparency in the use of works and in the payment of remuneration, the position of original authors and performers in relation to users will be strengthened. 

It is proposed that the rights of performers, i.e. actors and dancers, to their performances recorded on video be extended to correspond to the rights of performances recorded on audio recordings.

A new exclusive right would be added to the Act to include a right related to copyright for publishers of press publications.

Obligation of online content-sharing service providers to obtain authorisation for content protected by copyright

The responsibility for the content stored in the services of online content-sharing service providers, i.e. social media platforms, would be clarified by the obligation to obtain authorisation from authors to the content that users upload to the services. Providers of online content-sharing services would have to make sure that no content infringing copyright is available in their services. 
The service provider would have to obtain the author’s authorisation or, at the author’s request, prevent access in advance to content that infringes copyright. Where no authorisation exists, service providers could be exempted from liability under the conditions laid down in the law.

Service providers could not invoke the provisions on exemption of liability laid down in the Act on Electronic Communication Services.

The proposed legislative amendments promote the functioning of the internal market and strengthen the position of rightholders in relation to services to which users of those services have uploaded content protected by copyright. 

The Directive requires that the responsibilities of service providers do not prevent the justified use of content by users of the service. The use of works in online content-sharing services may be permitted on the basis of limitations or because the content does not fall within the scope of copyright protection, or authorisation for its use has been obtained from the rightholders. 

Where an author or a user of the service is not satisfied with the decision issued in a procedure for appeal and request for judicial review offered by the service provider, the matter may be entered into an impartial, non-binding dispute resolution procedure. In such cases, an impartial expert in copyright law makes an assessment of the case and issues a recommendation on whether access to a protected work should be disabled in the service or whether the work should be removed from the service.

Amendments to the Copyright Act to be drafted later

Provisions on teaching activities other than those required by the Directive, as well as provisions on parallel recording and the SVT Play service, have been left to a later date.

Inquiries: Anna Vuopala, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. + 358 0295 330331