Skip to content

Teosto Manages Copyrights in Sibelius’ Works

28.01.2021

Jean Sibelius is still one of the most performed Finnish composers in the world. Sibelius’ works are used in many contexts and from time to time questions relating to copyrights arise. Most recently  in connection with the inauguration of the President of the United States Joe Biden in January 2021.

When guests began to arrive at the inauguration of Joe Biden the United States Marine Band played Ryan J. Nowlin’s work Godspeed, John Glenn, which contains a clearly identifiable part of Sibelius’ “Finlandia Hymn.” The question arose: Did the event break Finnish copyright with the performance?

Finlandia Hymn is a tone poem for orchestra, composed by Jean Sibelius in 1899. It premiered in Finland and reached an international audience the following year. Its first performances under that title were given by the Helsinki Philharmonic at the Paris World Exhibition of 1900.

Teosto is the Finnish copyright organization entrusted with managing the copyrights to and the use of Sibelius’ works and the collection of royalties on behalf of the rightsholders. As in most European countries, the term of copyright protection is 70 years after the death of the author. In the case of Sibelius, copyright to his works expires in 2027. However, in the United States, this same rule applies only to works made after 1978; for works older than this, the term of protection is determined by the year of publication of the work.

Consequently, in the United States, Finlandia Hymn’s copyright protection has already expired and the work is in the public domain.

Due to this mismatch in terms of protection, although public domain in the United States, Finlandia Hymn is still protected in Finland and in several other countries, including most of Europe. Nevertheless, the work was also communicated to public in Europe as part of the television broadcast of inauguration.

Some questions also remain in relation to situations where a public domain work is attached into an entirely new work. Teosto is currently looking into the US legal framework and market practice, especially when it comes to creating derivative works and attribution of the original composer in these situations.

Teosto has sent an information request to the local copyright organization ASCAP and is waiting for their response.

“Sibelius is one of the great Finnish icons, so of course we take such cases very seriously. Overall, the impact of music on exports and the image of Finland is significant. That is why it is important that Finnish music performed abroad and that copyright is taken care of”says Jani Jalonen, Teosto’s Chief Custome Officer.

Share on social media
Give us feedback!

Feedback from users is important when we develop our web services. Let us know your experiences of our service!

Change cookie settings

A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your computer or other device and records information about your visit to the Website. Teosto uses cookies to improve the usability of its services.

Information collected by cookies is not usually connected with the personal data of an identified person, but some information collected by cookies may be indirectly connected with the personal data of an identified person.

Learn more by reading our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy

Cookie categories
Strictly necessary cookies

These cookies are strictly necessary to ensure the availability of our website. They do things such as load some of our website’s functions in advance to make the website load faster. Strictly necessary cookies are also used to determine and remember your settings. You can disable strictly necessary cookies in your browser settings, but please note that all of the website’s functions and parts may not work properly after that.
More information about cookies

Analytics cookies

We use analytics cookies to improve the functioning of our website. Analytics cookies collect information about things such as how visitors use our website and how they navigate from one page to another. The information is used in anonymous form.
More information: Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy

Functionality cookies

Functionality cookies allow us to offer various functions, such as playlists and a live chat service, on our website. If you disable functionality cookies, some or all of these functions may not work properly. More information about cookies

Marketing cookies

Marketing cookies help us tailor marketing and offer the users of our website more personalised services in the future. We use marketing cookies to collect information about the user’s behaviour and preferences on our website.
More information about cookies

On this website, we use our own cookies and cookies by third parties to provide the basic functions of the website, perform analyses and track the use of our services as well as to offer the best possible user experience and more personalised services. You can accept all cookies by clicking on “accept all” or change your cookie settings by clicking on “change cookie settings”. Learn more about our cookies.