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The starting point for copyright is that the control over use of a copyright protected work is always with the author or that party, to whom the author has transferred their right. The Copyright Act has, however, for some social and cultural situations, limited copyright, in favour of the freedom of speech and communication. The restrictions in the Copyright Act have been defined in Chapter 2 of the Copyright Act.

Public exhibition of a work

In accordance with the Copyright Act, when a work of art is sold or otherwise permanently transferred, or when a work of art is made public, the work may be exhibited publicly. In practice, this means that the author's right to control the public exhibition of a work of art applies only to copies in their possession. An art museum or private collector may, having acquired a painting or sculpture for their collections, place the work in public display on their own premises or elsewhere without separately having to ask for permission or compensate the author.

KKO 1980 II 46. The cooperative X had prepared a blow-up of a photograph found in a newspaper article and placed it on public display. This procedure was not considered public exhibition, which would, in the case mentioned in the lawsuit, have been permissible, but the reproduction of a copyright protected work. Because of the lawsuit brought on X by author A,  X had to pay A reasonable compensation for unauthorised use as well as compensation for other losses.

Using a work in a critical and scientific presentation

Images of published works of art relating to the text may be included in a critical or scientific presentation. However, the presentation's text must be the main subject matter in the type of critical or scientific article intended by this section of the Act. Images must be related to the text; they must illustrate and clarify the text. The section of the Act uses an art exhibition critique as an example of a critical presentation. The Copyright Council has considered as a critical presentation a presentation, where the writer attaches their own evaluations to the interpretations of the works of art, and where the article's point of view has been critical. Scientific presentations are considered presentations, which fulfil the general requirements set for the scientific treatment of subject matter.

Use of a work in connection with current affairs

When covering current affairs for a newspaper of magazine (Section 25 of the Copyright Act), images of a work of art may be connected with a text, provided that the work has not been created for reproduction in the newspaper of magazine. The current affair mentioned in the provision does not have to be within the field of art.  The provisional restriction applies to both traditional journals printed on paper, as well as their online publications. The provision requires, in any case, a connection between the image and text. The basis for the provisional restriction is the need and duty of the press to report on current affairs.

A work of art can also be included in another photograph, film or television programme, if its reproduction in the photograph, film or television programme is of secondary significance. This provisional restriction applies only to such copies of the work of art, which have been sold of permanently transferred with the consent of the author. For example, in the aforementioned case regarding a sculptor, the sculptures had not been sold or transferred permanently, but were the possessions of the artist and had been placed in a temporary exhibition in the foyer of the National Opera. Permitted secondary use under the provisional restriction, as discussed now, includes the display of the art collection of a person being interviewed for a television programme, as part of the set.

Photography or a work of art in a public space

Photography of a work of art is permitted when a work has been permanently placed in a public place or in its immediate vicinity. However, if the work of art is the main subject of the shot, it may not be used for commercial purposes. It is permitted, however, to use the photograph when it relates to a text in a newspaper or magazine.

Exhibiting a work in an educational context

A work of art that has been published, may be exhibited publicly in an educational context (Section 21 of the Copyright Act). This provision does not apply to dramatic or film works, the exhibition of which always requires the consent of the author. A work in the National Audiovisual Archive (KAVA) collection, with exception of a film work recorded by a foreign producer, may be used for research and college-level film education. Teaching activity, as intended under the Act, is includes only such teaching activity that does not happen for commercial purposes.

Photographing a building

A building's interior and exterior may freely be photographed. This applies to two-dimensional imaging, for example, by photography or drawing.  Three-dimensional reproduction requires the consent of the architect.

A catalogue or communication relating to an exhibition and sale

A work of art, which belongs to a collection or is displayed in public, or is offered for sale, may be photographed for a catalogue or other communication relating to an exhibition or sale The collection or exhibition catalogue may be created without the permission of, or compensation to, the artist, in the case of an analogue method of reproduction i.e. a catalogue printed traditionally on paper. The consent of the right holder is however required for a digital catalogue Use of an image in an exhibition or sales communication requires that the work is actually offered for sale or exhibited. Exhibition catalogues are taken to mean works that help to guide the people who come to see the works.  A work can also not be used in promoting the art dealer or other company after a sale has taken place.

Photocopying a work of art

Photocopying a work of art is reproduction. Photocopying licenses are granted, in accordance with the special provisions in the Copyright Act, by the copyright organisation representing all authors, Kopiosto ry.

Private use

Anyone can produce a few copies of a published work for private use, for example, by photographing it. However, the reproducing a work of fine art may not be given to an external party may not be used to copy a work of art protected by cpyright.  A person may personally copy a  painting for a wall in their home, but may not employ an art foundry to make a bronze cast from a plaster sculpture. This applies also if he owns the plaster sculptor, material ownership does not give copyright. 

 You may donate a copy that you have made yourself to a friend or relative, but a work created in such a way may not be sold on. It is noteworthy, that only the author may assign a person to mark an artwork with the author's name or nom de plume. A copy of the work may not be marked with the author's name of nom de plume in such a way that the reproduction could be mistaken with the original.

Freedom of Expression

Article 11 (1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which stipulates as follows “(e)veryone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Article 11 (2) provides that “(t)he freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.”  Freedom of expression can justify the use of a picture in political art if the picture is needed to make a statement about important social and political questions. Freedom of expression is also protected by the national constitution  as discussed in the section Freedom of Science.

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