United States of America
Copyright and Related Rights
[Follow-up question] Please explain why the levy for blank recording material under Finnish law is not subject to the national treatment requirements of the TRIPS Agreement. In addition, please explain whether and how the funds collected are in fact distributed to any foreign beneficiaries from WTO Members.
(a) Why no national treatment? The Finnish levy system is a sui generis arrangement. There is no international regulation of such levies. The system is outside the intellectual property rights. The Finnish Government and Parliament explicitly rejected the idea of rights in this field. The reason was that when blank recording media are manufactured or imported there is no work, no author, no copying involved. Instead of a copyright based system a very specific system was established. On the level of the legislation there is an obligation to manufacturers and importers to pay the levy. This obligation was enacted in accordance with the clause in the Constitution concerning public taxes. The Ministry of Education issues annually a decision on the rate of the levy. No one can claim a share of the levy. (b) Distribution to foreign authors. A major part of the proceeds of the levy is used for collective cultural purposes. The Finnish Composers' International Copyright Bureau Teosto includes a part of the audio levy in its individual distributions, and allocates some amounts to seven foreign organizations on the basis of reciprocal private agreements between Teosto and these organizations.