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Copyright FAQ

All information on these pages is based on the Finnish legislation, which applies to all entries submitted to the ASSEMBLY competitions. Even though there are variations per each country, the principles are quite similar around Europe.

Introduction to copyright law

The first attempts to protect the rights of creative authors were made in the 16th century. The first real laws in Finland were issued in the 18th century (the book printing laws). The first law called "Copyright law" was issued in 1927 and it was later revised in 1961.

Copyright laws belong to the wider concept of laws of immaterial property. This concept covers topics such as

  • copyright law
  • patent law
  • model law
  • trademark law
  • company name regulations

Copyright law in creative works

Copyright law protects all creative works. A creative work has to be independent and contain original ideas. There are no quality criterias, that is, the law protects both "poor works" as well as "the masterpieces of a renowed artist". The law protects both the media and the content of the work, but it doesn't protect the idea of the work. So, a music piece by a known Finnish artist about a rap style called "Freestyle" is protected against copying while anybody is free to do another original music piece of the same subject.

A copyright is created when the creative work is created. There is no need to apply for copyright protection or register one's copyright. All rights to work belong to the creator of the work. These rights can be divided to two classes: economical rights and moral rights.

The economical rights are the right to make copies of work, to spread these copies and to publicly display the work.

The moral rights contain the right to be named as the author of the work, the protection against slanderous changes to the work or presentation of the work in slanderous context.

Limitations to copyright protection

Copyright protection is limited in several ways, which benefit the public interest. These include

  • copying of the production for personal use
  • photocopying
  • limited use of the work by educational institutions
  • Reference right

Note that computer programs are excluded from this part of the law, that is, it is also forbidden to make copies of computer programs for personal use.

Copyright can be passed to another person / organization by the author. This can be done with a simple (written) permission, by licensing or inheritance.

Other protections besides copyright

Performing artists, audio and video production, photography and databases are protected by a separate laws.

Protection times

Copyright law applies for the lifetime of the author and 70 years after the death of the author. Other protections (listed above) last for 50 years from production except for databases (15 years from production).

Penalties for breaking copyright law

Depending on the severity of the crime from small monetary amounts up to 2 years of imprisonment.

Copyright law applied to compos at ASSEMBLY

Q: Can I freely use 5 seconds from the latest of hit song in my demo / sound track?
A: No. The copyright for that song is owned by its author or a organization supervising copyrights (e.g. Teosto or Gramex in Finland)
Q: Can I freely use a song made by friend living in Burma? He doesn't belong to any organization, but I haven't got a permission from him.
A: No. Copyright law applies to all countries of the world
Q: I remixed a song by Jean-Michel Jarre, so am I allowed to use this new version freely?
A: No. You have to have the permission of the copyright owner of the original work.
Q: I took secretly a photo of a Pharao's golden mask in an art exhibition. Can I use this photo?
A: No. You didn't have the permission of the owner of the mask and you are interfering with material property rights.
Q: I'm making a parody for the Wild compo where the Sibelius monument is part of the show. Can I do this freely?
A: No. No more than you could take a photo of monument and start selling them without the author's permission.
Q: I found a nice picture in a magazine and I would like to use this picture in my own production. Can I do this freely?
A: Not without the permission of the copyright owner.
Q: Can I use parts of advertisement shown in television in my entry?
A: Not without the permission of the copyright owner.
Q: I just finished my production. Do I need to join an organization to get copyright protection?
A: No. You production will automatically get copyright protection.
Q: I found great pictures from the internet and there wasn't any (C) sign on the page. Can I use the material freely?
A: No. The copyright law applies even when it's not explicitly stated.
Q: I thought about making a documentary of ASSEMBLY and then selling it. Can I do this freely?
A: Not without the permission of the arranger of the event (ASSEMBLY Organizing).
Q: I got a permission from my friend to use his material and he has joined a copyright supervising organization. So I am entitled to use his material, right?
A: Unfortunately no. You friend has transferred the supervising right to the organization, so he can no longer give you a permission to use the material. If you use the material, you are liable for the damages, not your friend.
Q: Our group made a demo and I thought about selling it myself. Can I do this?
A: You can only sell the demo if all members of your group give you the permission do this. You can not show the production either if all members of the group don't give you their permission.

Q: If all this is forbidden, what can I do?`
A: You can do a lot! All material that you have done yourself or which you have obtained a permission is available to you. The copyright law also protects your creative work regardless of your age, culture or country!

Links to copyright resources







Comprehensive listing of copyright related laws


New compo: mobile demo

Questions? Email us at [email protected]. (C) Copyright 2001 ASSEMBLY Organizing