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Honouring copyright: A Small Thing to Do Out of a Great Love of Art

Sulasol (the Finnish Amateur Musicians’ Association) and its partners created a project titled Lauletaan! Soitetaan! Puhtaasti (Let’s Make Pure Music) designed to make copyright issues easy to handle.

What does art mean for you? What are your thoughts, your feelings and your experiences when you consider what music and singing give you? Every answer is different, but it is a reasonable guess that you would somehow describe something warm, satisfying, beneficial and deeply meaningful. I would go so far as to claim that we sing out of a love for music, a love for art.

When we talk about love for art, we are in fact at the core of what copyright is all about. That is the heart of it all, even if copyright often seems like a tangle of legislation, international treaties and sometimes irritatingly bureaucratic obligations. How can we love music if we do not care for those who create it? Showing our appreciation for them is simple: let’s care about copyright!

Keep it Clean in the Chorus Review and the Contest for Vocal Ensembles

Sulasol (the Finnish Amateur Musicians’ Association) and its partners created a project titled Lauletaan! Soitetaan! Puhtaasti (Let’s Make Pure Music) designed to make copyright issues easy to handle. The Pure Music website (only available in Finnish at the moment) has information, instructions and tips in clear language addressing everyday questions faced by choirs and ensembles.

Here is a checklist compiled from the website to help you make pure music when attending the Chorus Review or the Contest for Vocal Ensembles!

Legal sheet music

• Get legal sheet music copies for every singer – whether published scores that you buy, hire or borrow, or copies authorised by the rightholders (composer, lyricist, arranger). You need to do this even if you perform from memory, without scores.
• Does your repertoire contain unpublished, published, Creative Commons (CC) licensed and/or public-domain works? Find out what scores are legal for each piece and make sure that your physical and/or electronic musical score archives are in order.
• Did you know that you need permission for using an electronic copy of a score, e.g. on a tablet?

Arrangement permits

• Creators have the exclusive right to decide on how their work is used. This also applies to adaptations of their work, e.g. writing an arrangement of another composer’s composition.
• If the original composition is still under copyright please make sure that you or the arranger have written permission in your archive to create the arrangement(s) that you are performing.

Performing licences

• The event organiser, the Tampere Vocal Music Festival, is responsible for acquiring performing licences. The Festival will submit performance notifications to Teosto (the Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society) on behalf of foreign performers.
• If you give a pre-Festival concert or other performance with the same repertoire, please make sure you take care of the required performing licences and performance notifications.


• You are allowed to take photos of your own performances.
• For all other photography, you must have an accreditation from the Tampere Vocal Music Festival.
• If you use photos taken by others, please ask the photographer for permission to use and (if needed) edit those photos.
• Always ask for permission to take and publish photos from the persons whose photos are being taken, and always credit the photographer when you publish photos.


• You are allowed to make audio and/or video recordings of your own performances.
• If you record copyright-protected music and share the recordings on social media or on your website, etc., you must have permits for both making and distributing the recording.
• Consult Teosto (the Finnish Composers’ Copyright Society) or your local copyright agency for information on recording and distribution permits.
• Remember to ask permission from all the performers featured for recording and distributing performances.

Let’s Make Pure Music at the Tampere Vocal Music Festival!

Text: Susanna Kantelinen

Please note that this blog post was originally designed as guidance for choirs and vocal ensembles based in Finland. The instructions here are derived from Finland’s copyright legislation. If you are based outside Finland, please make sure that you are in compliance with your local copyright legislation.

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