Below you can find the Finnish Musicians’ Union’s lawyer Ilona Vartiainen’s answers to frequently asked questions regarding copyrights.

The Copyright Act ensures neighboring rights for music performers, dividing these rights into moral and economic rights.

Moral rights protect the author’s unique relationship with their work. Moral rights include the right of attribution, which allows the author to be mentioned in a manner consistent with customary practice in the use of the work, and the right of integrity, which prohibits the alteration of the work in a way that would prejudice the author’s artistic reputation or originality, as well as the use of the work in a context that is derogatory to the author.

Based on economic rights, the author can negotiate the use of their work and receive compensation for it. The economic rights of a performing artist include the right to prohibit the recording of their performance, its direct broadcast on television or radio, or other direct transmission methods. Additionally, based on economic rights, a performing artist has the right to decide on the use of a recording made of the performance, such as copying, public performance, and dissemination to the public.

To qualify for neighboring rights protection for their performance, the artist’s performance must be based on a literary or artistic work eligible for copyright protection or a performance of folklore.

Regarding literary and artistic works, the determination of whether the threshold of originality is met is always made on a case-by-case basis.

Folklore refers to performances consisting of characteristic elements of artistic tradition developed and maintained by a community or a tradition maintained and developed by individuals reflecting the community’s artistic tradition.

The performance must also be explicitly attributed to the performing artist. Legal literature suggests that to qualify for neighboring rights protection, the performance must thus have an artistic nature.

The use and transfer of materials subject to copyright must always be explicitly agreed upon. The safest option is to have a written contract, as the content of an oral agreement can be difficult to prove afterward.

Agreements are often made through a separate copyright agreement, but copyright-related terms may also be included in other agreements such as employment contracts.

Copyright-related terms may be included in collective agreements or other collective agreements. For example, the Musicians’ Union’s collective agreement for record producers stipulates terms for the use of recorded performances.

Copyright organizations such as Gramex and Teosto grant licenses for the use of works and commercially released recordings. This is based on the contract and compulsory licensing system of the Copyright Act.

If you transfer rights exclusively, you cannot transfer those rights to other parties or utilize them yourself after the transfer.

For example, an artist can grant a record label the exclusive right to record their performances through a recording contract. In this case, without a separate agreement, they do not have the right to make recordings with any other party or release them independently.

Gramex is a copyright organization for recorded music, representing performing artists and sound recording producers.

Gramex provides licensing services that enable the use of recordings and music videos, and collects royalties for the use of recordings and music videos, distributing them to performing artists and producers.

It is advisable to become a client of Gramex if you have performed on a recording as a musician, vocalist, or conductor, or if you have produced a recording. By doing so, you will receive your share of the royalties collected from the use of recordings, provided that the recording has been reported to Gramex and the music video has been reported through a music video notification. Becoming a client is completely free of charge.

Gramex collects royalties from various sources, including the public performance of recordings at events and occasions, as well as background music in places like cafes and restaurants. Additionally, royalties are collected from radio stations for the broadcast of recordings and from certain audiovisual productions such as television programs. Based on the settlement agreements with foreign copyright organizations, Gramex also collects royalties for the use of domestic recordings abroad. It’s important to note that Gramex does not collect royalties from music streaming services.

To receive royalties, it’s necessary that a notification of the recording has been submitted to Gramex for recordings, and a music video notification for music videos, and that the artist/producer has entered into a client agreement with Gramex. Typically, submitting the notification of the recording is the responsibility of the recording’s economic producer, but musicians should always ensure that the notification has been correctly submitted.

When releasing recordings, it is always important to submit a phonogram report to Gramex. The report should include precise identifying information about the recording as well as details about the producer and the artists featured on the recording, track by track.

Based on the recording notification, Gramex can accurately match reported airplay from radio stations and other music users to the correct recordings and subsequently pay royalties to the recording producer and the artists featured on the recording.

The phonogram report is submitted digitally through the MyGramex portal no later than the end of the month following the release month of the recording. The phonogram report should be submitted even if the recording is released only in digital format.

Typically, submitting the phonogram report is the responsibility of the recording’s economic producer, but musicians should always ensure that the report has been correctly submitted.

Gramex pays royalties for the use of recordings and music videos to the performing artists featured on the recordings as well as to the producer of the recording.

Gramex producer royalties are paid to the economic producer of the recording. According to Gramex’s distribution rules, the economic producer of the recording is the natural person or legal entity, such as a limited company, “who initiates and is responsible for the first-time recording of the performance, other sounds, or sound representations.”

The term “producer” in this context does not refer to the artistic producer but rather to the entity responsible for the production costs of the recording. The producer could be, for example, a record label or an artist-producer.

Teosto is a copyright organization for music creators, including composers, lyricists, arrangers, and music publishers.

Teosto sells and grants licenses for the use of music to music users such as companies and other organizations that use music. Teosto collects royalties from music users for the use of works in Finland and abroad, and distributes them to the represented music creators and publishers.

It’s advisable to become a customer of Teosto when you have at least one composition, lyric, arrangement, or translation that has been publicly performed or recorded on an audio or audiovisual recording. This way, you will receive compensation whenever your work is publicly performed or recorded – provided that a notification of the work has been submitted to Teosto and performance notifications for performances. The membership fee for an individual customer of Teosto is 124 EUR. The membership fee is paid once, and there are no annual fees.

Teosto collects and distributes royalties to music creators for various uses of music. Teosto collects royalties when music is publicly performed, for example, on radio, television, online, in concerts, or as background music. Additionally, royalties are collected when music is recorded onto a recording medium such as a CD or vinyl record. Teosto also licenses music for various platforms such as streaming services, whereby royalties are collected for the use of music by individuals.

Based on reciprocity agreements signed by Teosto, royalties collected by foreign copyright organizations for the use of works abroad are transferred to Teosto. Teosto then distributes these royalties to the music creators whose music has been performed abroad.

Remember to submit a work notification to Teosto when you create a new composition, lyrics, or arrangement. Submitting a work notification is a prerequisite for Teosto to pay you copyright royalties when your work is publicly performed or recorded onto a recording medium or audiovisual recording.

It is advisable to submit the work notification as soon as the work is completed, but it can also be done retroactively if it has been overlooked.

The work notification can be submitted through Teosto’s online service, providing the title of the work, its creators, and the distribution percentages among the creators and, if applicable, the publisher’s share, i.e., the percentage of the usage royalties payable to each party.

In order for Teosto to pay royalties to music creators, an event notification must be submitted to Teosto. The notification includes information about the music performed by bands, orchestras, choirs, and other music performers at their gigs and concerts. Making an event notification does not require Teosto membership and it is free of charge.

Based on the information provided in the event notification, Teosto pays copyright royalties to composers, lyricists, arrangers, and music publishers whose music has been performed. An event notification should also be submitted when performing your own music.

The event notification includes details such as the date of the performance, the venue, the event organizer, and the performed compositions.

A publishing agreement is a copyright contract between the creator of a musical work, such as a composer, lyricist, or arranger, and a music publishing company, in which the creator transfers the exclusive right to control the work to the publisher.

The role of a music publisher is to promote the commercial use of the works by distributing, marketing, and administering them. The publisher’s duties and responsibilities may include, for example, finding performers for the works or incorporating them into audiovisual works such as advertisements and films.

The goal of a publishing agreement is to provide financial benefits to both the music creator and the publisher. As compensation for their work, the publisher receives a share of the copyright royalties from the works they publish, which are the music creator’s income from Teosto, for example.

The starting point of copyright law is that the right arises for the one who creates or performs the work. Thus, the owner of the copyright or neighboring rights protected work or performance created in an employment relationship is usually the employee. However, an exception applies to computer programs and databases, where the copyright belongs to the employer if their creation is part of the employee’s duties.

In the case of works and performances created in employment relationships, the employer generally obtains the right to use the work to the extent required for its normal operations. The extent of the right is determined on a case-by-case basis and varies by industry.

Otherwise, the transfer of rights to the employer must be agreed upon by contract, such as an employment contract or a separate copyright agreement. Industry collective agreements may also include provisions on copyright. For example, in the Musicians’ Union’s collective agreement for sound recording producers, terms are set regarding the use of recorded performances.

A cover song typically refers to a recording or performance of a song made by a different artist after its initial release.

Permission from the original songwriter is not required to record or publicly perform a cover song if it follows the original composition, lyrics, and arrangement. However, significant modifications, such as translating the lyrics into another language or making substantial changes to the composition, require permission from the songwriter or other rights holders, such as the publisher or estate.

If a cover song is released in physical format, such as a CD, a recording license must be obtained from the Nordic Copyright Bureau (NCB), and associated fees must be paid. For digitally released covers, streaming services typically handle licensing for the song. When releasing a cover song, it is essential to credit the original songwriters.