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In accordance with the Copyright Act, the person who has created an artistic work, owns the exclusive right to their work. The copyright protects the author's economic and moral rights.

Moral rights

The author's right to attribution and integrity

The Copyright Act protects not only the author's economic rights, but also their moral rights. The author has, firstly, the first right to be mentioned in connection with the work as its author, or the right to attribution. Second, adapting the work in a way that offends the artistic quality of the artist, or exhibiting the work in such a context that it may offend the author, is prohibited based on the right to integrity.

Moral rights have been defined in the copyright agreement of the International Bern Convention thus: regardless of their economic rights, and also having transferred them, the author has a right to demand recognition of their authorship and object to the distortion, abbreviation and other adaptation of their work, as well as all other infringing measures targeting the work, which violate the author's honour or reputation.

The infringing context may involve, for example, the political, religious, racist or social use of the work. Judicial practice has found as offensive use, among other things, the use of a teetotaller photographer's photograph on a wine label, a pacifist artist's work in a violent game and the use of a work by an artist avoiding commercial use, in advertising. Adaptations that offend the artistic value of an author may also be relevant when the colours of a work are changed or the work is cut or cropped.

The author's exclusive right includes the right to control all adaptation and alteration of the work. Adapting a work does therefore not remove the original author's rights and, in principle, consent for creating an adaptation is always required from the author. The creation of a new and independent work, as well as pastiche and cartoons, have been discussed above.

The right of access

The author of a work of fine art always has the right of access to their work. The author and right holder of a work of fine art has the right to see and photograph a work, if it is necessary for the realisation of the author's economic rights, e.g. for the creation of a catalogue or post cards or for other purposes relating to the author's artistic work. The right of access must be realised in such a manner that does not cause unreasonable harm to the owner or right holder of the work.

Economic rights

The author has the exclusive right to control their work by reproducing it and making it available to the public. The explicit consent of the author is usually required for the use of a work. The economic aspect of copyright includes the author's exclusive right to control all such use of their work as may have economic significance. The author may transfer their economic rights wholly or in part. The author has the right to control the terms, under which they transfer, wholly or in part, their rights and with which their work may be exploited.  The author's economic rights govern the use of the work as an object of exchange or other dissemination to the public.

The author or a work of fine art owns the right to control the reproduction of their work. Reproduction is seen as all reproduction of the work, such as printing an image on a print product. Also, photographing a work of fine art is reproduction, as intended in the Copyright Act.

In its opinion 2002:6, the Copyright Council considered, among other things, that: an artist's sculptures, which had been placed in the National Opera foyer impermanently, enjoyed copyright protection in such a manner, that the consent of the sculptor should have been sought, in order to photograph the sculptures for the men¿s' and ladies' wear catalogue of company A Ltd.

Since the author had, in accordance with Section 2 of the Copyright Act, the right to reproduce their work on any form, any adaptation of the work and the inclusion of adapted work in another product, such as another work of fine art, would fall under the exclusive right of the author.

The Copyright Act also protects the author's right to control publication of their work. A part of the author's economic rights entails that the author, or they to whom the author has transferred their rights, controls the public exhibition and presentation or the work.  Exhibition is taken to mean display of the work in a traditional and physical form, such as display in an art exhibition, as well as exhibition that occurs with the aid of a technical device. Prior to the publication of the work, the author's right to their work is unlimited.

The distribution right protects the dissemination for sale, rental, loan or distribution that happens through any other manner. The sale and rental of works of fine art and photography are use, which is protected under the Copyright Act. When a copy of the work has been sold or otherwise permanently transferred, with the consent of the author, for the first time, the work may be redistributed (Section 19 of the Copyright Act). A professional or public resale of the work, however, entitles the author to a resale royalty.

Resale royalty

The author has an inalienable right to a royalty, for any professional and public resale of fine art, which is 5% of the VAT free selling price of the work, when its price is between 255 and 50,000 Euros.  When the selling price goes past 50,000 Euros, the percentage of the royalty decreases.

The resale royalty covers both works of fine art as well as photography. The right to a resale royalty applies to limited number products of handicrafts and industrial art. Handicraft and industrial art limited editions, limited edition sets with a provably limited number of production, as well as unique works, are entitled to a resale royalty.  The resale of a building does not entitle to a resale royalty. Professional auctioneers and art dealers are responsible for performing the payment, and fulfilling their payment duty, to the organisation collecting the payment, Kuvasto ry. Kuvasto ry transfers the payments to the authors and authors' right holders.

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