In Theory, The Artists’ Rights in Finland

In Theory, these are the Artists’ Rights and Freedoms in Finland: The Artistic Freedom, The Freedom of Expression, and The Copyright.

We will soon find out how things are in real life.


The freedom to imagine, create and distribute diverse cultural expressions free of governmental censorship, political interference or the pressures of non-state actors.

The artistic freedom is protected by the Finnish constitution (§16)

This is a core freedom in our democratic society. There are no restrictions, limitations or limits to artistic freedom. The freedom is endless.

This means that no one (not even the authorities) have the right to interfere with Art. The authorities are by law obliged to protect the artists and their rights against any abuse or violations. The authorities must protect artists’ rights to participate in the democratic dialogue by defending public access to the artists’ work and supporting the artists’ ability to freely express views that might be unpopular or controversial.


Everyone has the freedom of expression. Freedom of expression entails the right to express, disseminate and receive information, opinions and other communications without prior prevention by anyone.

The freedom of expression is protected by the Finnish constitution (§12).

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The European Court of Human Rights has stressed on numerous occasions that freedom of expression constitutes “one of the essential foundations of [a democratic] society”, and that “it is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”.


Copyright is a bundle of EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS. The copyright law provides the owner of copyright in a work the exclusive right: to reproduce the work in copies; to prepare derivative works based upon the work; to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; to perform the work publicly; and to display the copyrighted work publicly.

If you decide to sell your works, you can. You can display your work online or allow your art to be published.

It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright law to the copyright holder. This means whatever content the author created cannot be used or published by anyone else without the consent of the author.

The copyright law is always subject to restrictive interpretation. This means that unclear situations are interpreted restrictively in favor of the author.

A person depicted in an artwork or photograph has NO RIGHTS to the work according to law.

Copyright protection is automatic

You automatically own the copyright to your art immediately after creating it. Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. This protection is available for both published and unpublished works.

A work that is created is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is given a term of copyright protection enduring for the lifetime of the artist plus an additional 70 years after the artist’s death.

Ownership of a copyright, or of any of the exclusive rights under a copyright, is distinct from ownership of any material object in which the work is embodied. Transfer of ownership of any material object does not of itself convey any right in the copyrighted work embodied in the object; nor, in the absence of an agreement, does transfer of ownership of a copyright or of any exclusive rights under a copyright convey property rights in any material object.

The artist retains the copyright unless he or she specifically signs it away in a written agreement (a practice which is virtually unknown in Europe).

In addition to copyright, certain authors of works of visual art also have the rights of attribution and integrity. These moral rights are the rights of an artist to maintain the integrity of his/her work and to receive full and proper attribution for his/her work.


Wikipedia – Copyright

Wikipedia – Copyright law of the European Union

What is copyright?
by WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization (an UN agency created to encourage creative activity and to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world).

Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (as amended on September 28, 1979) (Authentic text)

European Commission – Shaping Europe’s digital future:

The EU copyright legislation

The EU copyright legislation is a set of eleven directives and two regulations, which harmonise essential rights of authors and of performers, producers and broadcasters. By setting harmonised standards, the EU law reduces national discrepancies, ensures the level of protection required to foster creativity and investment in creativity, promotes cultural diversity and ensures better access for consumers and business to digital content and services across Europe.


Copyright ensures that authors, composers, artists, film makers and other creators receive recognition, payment and protection for their works. It rewards creativity and stimulates investment in the creative sector.

International Copyright Basics
What is copyright?