The Finnish Supreme Court set a significant precedent concerning copyright on 4 November 2011. The case involved the publication of a book translation as a Loisto pocketbook without the translator’s permission. The case had been pending since 2006, when the translator filed suit against WSOY and Taskukirja Loisto Oy in the district court. The Helsinki District Court, and later the Court of Appeals, ruled in the translator’s favour.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court considered that Loisto acted as a separate publisher, violating the Copyright Act by transferring rights from the original publisher without permission. The agreement on the transfer of rights between WSOY and Loisto was unlawful. WSOY violated the translation agreement by giving Loisto a translation for publication without permission to do so; as the book’s publisher Loisto, in turn, infringed the translator’s copyright by publishing the work. Taskukirja Loisto Oy was founded by the publishing houses WSOY, Otava, Tammi and Gummerus in 2000.

The Supreme Court decision strengthens the creator’s position in Finland and supports the development of creative industries. It is also hoped that the decision will contribute to achieving fairer practices in the publishing sector. Literary translators are largely underpaid professionals whose economic rights must be secured so that professional work in the sector in general would be possible.  Copyright compensations are a vital source of income to translators.

The Supreme Court’s ruling and the grounds for it can be found here (http://www NULL.kko NULL.fi/56512 NULL.htm).

For additional information you can contact Ms Liisa Leppänen, executive director of the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters (http://www NULL.sktl NULL.fi/).

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