Sámi fágagirjjálaš čálliid- ja jorgaleaddjiidsearvi
Saemien faagalidteratuvran tjaelijijih jarkoestæjjajsiebre
Sáme fágagirjásj tjállij- ja jårggåliddijijsiebre
  Miellahttun?
  Kontunummirat Norgga- ja Suoma beali miellahtuide gosa sáhttá máksit miellahttoruđa


Ságastallan WIPO čoahkkimis
Sámikopiija stivrajodiheaddji John T. Solbakk lei WIPO Davviriikkalaš čoahkkimis Stockholmmas skápmanánus 2002 ságastallin. Ságastallan lei eŋgelasgillii

WIPO Work Shop, Sigtuna, Stockholm,
6 to 8 November 2002

A Case Study
on the Collective Management of Rights

John T. Solbakk
Chair, Sámikopiija
The Saami Reproduction Rights Organization

Naturally, I can`t pass up this unique opportunity to take you through a `brief history of time`. Fortunately, that doesn`t entail much of a detour from my main topic today. My intention is to give you sufficient background to understand the challenges Saami rightsholders face today. In the latter part of my talk, I will examine various aspects of the question at issue here, i.e. the "Collective Management of Rights - the Case of the Saami".

Although I am probably much more of a materialist than a romantic, I must admit that there is something very fascinating and magical about this particular occasion. That feeling may be because this very part of Sweden, more specifically Uppsala, is the site of what the Saami call a "shiella", meaning a hidden treasure at the end of the rainbow. What an optimistic note on which to begin!

Exactly 330 years ago, a seed was sown that was to make the world outside of Sápmi aware of the existence of a civilized nation of people living on the northernmost periphery of Europe. Unfortunately, the Saami`s closest neighbours: the Norwegians, Swedes, Finns and Russians, chose to ignore that fact, setting the tragic stage for centuries of colonization of Sápmi. Naturally, this colonization was based on the struggle over the resources in northern Fenno Skandia.

Three hundred and thirty years ago, two Saami yoiks were the first Saami literary works ever published, but they appeared first in Latin. The poems managed to strike a chord in Europe, causing Europeans to wonder how it was possible for people in the dark and cold Arctic to create love songs of such tenderness and warmth, that is, poems that were in such striking contrast to the poets` surroundings. The power of the published poems inspired the German author Goethe to write his "Nähe des Geliebten", and the American poet Longfellow to write "My lost Youth". Here is how Longfellow described it:

"... a verse of a Lapland song is haunting my memory still: `A boy`s will is the wind`s will, And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts`."

The poems first appeared in Latin in Germany in 1673 in a book entitled Lapponia, written by Johannes Schefferus, a professor of German at Uppsala University. His book was translated into several European languages over the years, and published in Germany, England, France and Holland before the turn of the century. The book was so popular in England and Holland that it even had to be reprinted in 1704 and 1716. Could the fact that Schefferus` Lapponia was not made available to Swedish- and Finnish-speaking readers until 1956 and 1963, some 300 years after its initial publication, be a sign of ignorance? There is still no Norwegian translation of Schefferus` book, by the way.

The yoik poems must have created quite a sensation. In 1711, they were printed in the prestigious newspaper The Spectator. Later, they were included in anthologies such as J.G. Herder`s "Stimmen der Všlker in Liedern " in German in 1807, and "Fosterländsk Album", written by a Swedish-speaking Finnish author named J.L. Runeberg in 1847. The poems first appeared in the Helsinki newspaper Helsingfors Morgonblad in 1832. Other writers have also included the poems in their own works or been inspired to write their own poetry based on the poems Moarsi fávrrot and Guldnasaš".. Among them were von Kleist (1777), a German author, and Franzén (1810), another Swedish-speaking Finnish author. It was the translator to English for The Spectator in 1711 who expressed his surprise at the fact that such: "Éardent love poems were to be found so far north, with a people who is weighed down with darkness and cold most of the year".

The poems were the contribution of a young Saami student, ¢earbma Ovllá/Olaus Sirma, to Professor Schefferus` work. Sirma was brought to Uppsala by missionaries to become a minister. His home was in Giepma/Kemi, located in today`s region of Soa¹egilii/Sodankylä in northern Finland. Sirma`s contribution was based on Saami oral traditions.

It was generally accepted even then that one did not simply `borrow` a text written by someone else without citing the source. However, it seems to have been acceptable to take a Saami poem and publish it under a different poet`s name in a different language. This is how many of us read Runeberg`s and especially Franzen`s translations or interpretive renderings today. At least Runeberg stated that the poem was "From Lappish", but Franzén did not even bother with that. Thus one gets the impression that this work is an original one created by Franzn. In other words, "borrowing" original Saami works and publishing them under one`s own name has long traditions. I will give you a few more recent examples later.

Certain written sources from the early 1800s confirm the existence of a strong, dynamic oral literature among the Saami. A Swedish minister named Reverend Fellman recorded astonishing yoik poetry in the Deatnu Valley in Tana, north of Sirma`s Giepma/Kemi. One of his sources was an old Saami, Láidde çnot Máhtte/Matts Amundsson Laiti, from Ohcejohka. One of the yoiks he recited was 120 lines long. He had learned it in his youth from a man living on the Arctic coast, by the Lágesvuotna/Lakse Fjord, even further north than Láidde çnot Máhtte`s home.

Láidde çnot Máhtte told Reverend Fellman that he did not remember all the lines of this particular yoik about the first inhabitants of Saamiland. He apologized that the 120 lines were all he could manage to yoik for the clergyman. The songs/yoiks recorded by Fellmann are mostly long epic poems. Other sources have since corroborated Fellman`s theory that the Saami had their own original literary tradition. In the mid-1800s, based on the oral tradition, a Saami minister, Feallan Ande/Anders Fjellner, wrote "Daughters of the Sun" and "Sons of the Sun", an epic about the Saami people. It was the first Saami poem put down on paper by a Saami.

The picture I have been trying to draw here, is that of a flourishing oral literary tradition, a tradition that also took the first steps into a new era, the era of written literature, and which should have had good prospects for a bright future.

At the end of the 19th century, the oral tradition still carried a treasure trove of traditional knowledge acquired through centuries of hard living in the Arctic. All this knowledge helped the people survive their hostile climate, and comprised a dynamic, high-quality culture in every way, even though it was invariably based on the parameters set by nature.

Notwithstanding, it took more than a hundred years from the unique work of Anders Fjellner until the germination of a seed that was to become a new, uninterrupted Saami literary production.

The 1970s marked the advent of a Renaissance, an era of Saami awakening. Perhaps it would be appropriate to say that "The future was borne". But the seed had been there from time immemorial, surviving despite the cold, hostile environment.

Whatever became of the `baby` that Feallan Ande/Anders Fjellner and the Saami oral tradition gave birth to 150 years ago? What happened to its prospects for such a bright future?

I assume you can guess the answer. The child was taken away and replaced by something else. That `something else` has been known by many names, including "culture", "civilisation", "enlightenment" and so on. Many would say that words such as "oppression" and "cultural genocide" are at least as appropriate.

Please note that the colonial powers have not been the only obstacles to the development of Saami society. The fact that the Saami, a small group of ethnically and linguistically related people, inhabit a wide area, stretching from the Kola Peninsula in the northeast, through the Scandinavian Peninsula as far south as Femunden on the Norwegian side of the border and Idre on the Swedish side, meant it was out of the question for the Saami to even consider creating a homogeneous society across Sápmi to fight back when intruders began settling on their lands.

Dialect/Language map of Sápmi (Aage Solbakk`s "Sámi historjá 2").
The Western Saami languages:
1. South, 2. Ume, 3. Pite, 4. Lule, 5. North Saami,
The Eastern Saami languages:
6. Inari, 7. Skolt, 8. Akkala, 9. Kildin, 10. Ter Saami.


Although the Saami comprise the indigenous population of these regions, they have never been enfranchised with the political rights of a people with a language and culture of their own. For centuries, Saami lands have been occupied by the neighbouring states and been subject to their jurisdiction. The Saami failed to put up much resistance because colonization occurred gradually, precipitating an early collapse of the Saami`s own internal system of government. Please note also that the Saami have never been a homogeneous group. The combination of a small population and the vastness of their lands precluded such development. They formed different tribes, almost like the Indians of North America. In Saami, these tribes are called "Siida". And the Saami language includes many dialects which differ from each other so much that some people prefer to call them separate languages.

For a long time, the Saami were oppressed, especially in terms of culture, by the powerful societies that surrounded them. In Norway, at the turn of the 19th century, a programme of Norwegianization was mandated by law. The policy was gradually expanded to permeate almost every sector of Saami society. There are parallels in Finland and Sweden.

There are, of course, ideological explanations for the campaign. Nationalism had evolved into an ideology of conformity that was unable to accommodate any culture other than those of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Nordic nationalism flourished well into the inter-war period, and in certain areas it even survived World War II. That raises the question of whether Nordic nationalism has an impact on the Saami today. I am not convinced the answer is no. A form of social Darwinism had a good deal of influence from the mid-1800s until after World War II, not only among scientists, but also among government officials and politicians, and it is not easy to shake all the effects, even today.

The Saami language was nearly eliminated because its use was prohibited in schools. Consequently, the very survival of the language is in jeopardy in certain areas today. For most of the Saami population, however, the language remains vigorous and is one of the most important bearers of culture. The Saami are poignantly aware of the discussion regarding whether the survival of a culture is dependent on the survival of its language. This discussion is part of everyday life in todayÕs Sápmi, and diametrically opposed opinions threaten the unity of the Saami Movement.

After World War II, a more tolerant view of the Saami people`s situation as an ethnic and linguistic minority became prevalent. Saami organizations were founded once again. Official committees were appointed to study Saami issues. This led to the reorganization of the Saami educational system. In short, the milder climate led to the changes of the 1970s, and to a revival of Saami culture. As far as literary production is concerned, Saami writers are more prolific today than ever before. Saami literature makes deliberate efforts to counteract long-held feelings of inferiority and resignation among the Saami people. Art and literature are being used to build up a vital, dynamic culture, able to survive in a society bombarded by foreign influences through entertainment and the media.

What was lost during more than a century of oppression? Today`s Saami must also dare to ask whether the features of Saami culture that have survived, especially contemporary Saami cultural expressions, have the strength needed to allow the rekindling of a dynamic Saami community - with all the various cultural manifestations such a community must necessarily have.

What about the nation states that divided the Saami territory among themselves, and their responsibility for helping us? What responsibility rests on institutions and organizations within those same nation states? Can they avoid responsibility when it comes to the revitalization of the Saami community, possibly simply by passing the buck to the State authorities?

I don`t think it is an exaggeration to say that we have an enormous task before us. The project upon which we have so recently embarked is nothing short of "nation building". The Norwegians initiated a similar process in the early 1800s, the Finns about a hundred years later. Back then, the result was separate nation states, the two youngest Nordic states that are directly relevant in the Saami context. Although the Saami are not aiming at a nation state, nation-building is nevertheless the name of the game. This means that innumerable institutions and organizations have to be established and developed. Who can and will help us? At this point, I`m just asking.

I am already well into part two of my paper.

The map of the Saami dialectical boundaries I showed you earlier conceals a great deal of intriguing information.

Dialect/Language map of Sápmi (Aage Solbakk`s "Sámi historjá 2").
The Western Saami languages:
1. South, 2. Ume, 3. Pite, 4. Lule, 5. North Saami,
The Eastern Saami languages:
6. Inari, 7. Skolt, 8. Akkala, 9. Kildin, 10. Ter Saami.


As you can see on this map, the four nation-states` borders cross the Saami dialectical boundaries. Look at Northern Saami, the largest Saami language group. It is represented in Sweden, Finland and Norway. In other terms: The Saami are one people in four countries, with a common language and culture. That makes it only logical for many of our independent Saami organizations to look beyond national borders. This is how Saami cultural organizations, including copyright organisations, work.

Our amalgamation is Sámikopiija, established on 26 June 1992. The member organisations are:
The Saami Publishing and Newspaper Association
The Saami Theatre Association
The Association of Saami Visual Artists
The Saami Authors` Union
The Saami Non-Fiction Writers` and Translators` Association
The Saami Society of Composers
The Saami Union of Journalists.

Sámikopiija`s guidelines state in the Chapter 1:

"OBJECTS AND PURPOSE
¤ 1.1 Sámikopiija is a professional body for organizations that represent Saami creators of copyrighted works which are subject to reprographic reproduction and other forms of secondary use. As such, Sámikopiija is not for profit.

¤ 1.2 Given its objects, SámikopiijaÕs tasks are to:
1. Collect information and propose measures to promote the interests of rightsholders;
2. Co-ordinate the claims of member organizations, negotiate and contract agreements on their behalf;
3. Sign agreements with other RROs to negotiate and conclude agreements, and to claim remuneration
on behalf of Sámikopiija when this is expedient;
4. Manage and distribute remuneration and compensation for reprographic reproduction and other types of secondary uses of copyrighted works;
5. Exchange remuneration and compensation with bodies representing non-Saami rightsholders."

To date, Sámikopiija has not yet been able to incorporate traditional knowledge, yoiks, etc., folklore in the broadest sense, into its portfolio. The explanation is simply that we have not had resources for this important work. At Sámikopiija`s 10th anniversary celebration in 2002, the President of the Saami Parliamentary Council, an institution established by the three Saami Parliaments, signalled that the Parliamentary Council would like to establish closer collaboration with Sámikopiija to benefit from its expertise in this area. Naturally, we are pleased that more people are becoming aware of our existence and expertise.

All Sámikopiija`s member organizations organize Saami rightsholders in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Several of the organizations also have Russian Saami members. It must be emphasized that users do not consider Saami intellectual creations produced in another Nordic country to be products of foreign origin. (It is, for example, not uncommon to have a book with a Saami author living in Sweden or Finland, a publisher based in Norway, publication financed mainly with funds from Norway, and the work being used in all three countries.)

Saami users in all three countries, Norway, Sweden and Finland, constitute the target group for those who create copyright-protected material for the Saami market. It is this, the "cross-border use" of Saami copyright-protected material, which, in the opinion of Sámikopiija, means that existing agreements that regulate the use of and remuneration for the rightsholders in and between the organizations in the Nordic countries do not sufficiently protect the interests of the Saami rightsholders.

Since 1994, Sámikopiija has had a "reciprocal agreement" with Kopinor. The agreement guarantees formally that the Saami rightsholders in Norway get one per cent of the net remuneration Kopinor claims annually. Since 1994, the Norwegian agreement has generated about NOK 10 million in remuneration revenues for Saami rightsholders. At present, this agreement is the only one that guarantees that remuneration for the photocopying of Saami copyright-protected material will go directly to Saami rightsholders. Each year, 20 per cent of the "Norwegian" remuneration is spent on Sámikopiija`s administration. To date, the organization has not had other revenues, nor funding from any other source to build up and administrate this Nordic organization.

The Norwegian Ministry of Culture has stipulated that remuneration claimed and earmarked in Norway must be reserved for Norwegian nationals when grants are awarded. In actual practice, this means it is only Saami rightsholders living in Norway who can take advantage of the grant schemes that Sámikopiija`s member organizations have established through the "Saami Artists` and Authors` Fund" and the "Saami Non-fiction Fund".

That being said, the organizations have practised another distribution policy, and disbursements from the fund have not discriminated between members on the basis of the country in which they live, even though Sámikopiija has no control over Saami-generated remuneration revenues in Sweden and Finland. The main reason for pursuing such a practice is that the material produced by Saami rightsholders is used throughout the Saami language and cultural area, regardless of "country of origin". Even the term "country of origin" is somewhat misleading, given the realities of the Saami world.

Sámikopiija and its member organizations had hoped the agreement with Kopinor would form a pattern for dealing with Saami copyright issues in Finland and Sweden. The topic has been addressed on several occasions. Although reactions thus far have been negative on the part of BONUS Presskopia in Sweden and Kopiosto in Finland when it comes to Sámikopiija`s primary aim, Saami rightsholders do not consider the case closed as yet. Our hope has been and continues to be that the reproduction rights organization Sámikopiija will be granted a certain percentage (for example, 0.5-1 per cent), earmarked as the Saami share of the remuneration claimed by the RROs in Sweden and Finland.

There is, of course, no dispute about the fact that remuneration is claimed on behalf of Saami rightsholders in Sweden and Finland. The point at issue is that those funds are not managed by Saami rightsholders themselves. The Saami organizations are of the opinion that Sámikopiija should handle the distribution of funds to the Saami organizations, which would in turn use the funds for organizational and human resources development, and for grants to their members. That is, the Saami would like to maintain the established collective management of the rights and distribution of the remuneration to which we are entitled in the three Nordic countries in question. As regards how such a transfer of remuneration can be achieved in actual practice, I have no doubt that the RROs in Finland and Sweden are eminently qualified to find a solution which suits them and also satisfies the needs of the Saami rightsholders.

Simply put, the question being posed by Saami rightsholders is:
What must be done to transfer the management of the copyright-related rights of all Saami rightsholders throughout the Saami language and cultural area in the Nordic countries to Sámikopiija?

The answer we have received thus far can be summed up as follows: It is the "laws" of the respective countries that prevent Saami rightsholders` wish from coming true. Since the RROs in Sweden and Finland are unable, what can and will legislators do about the problem? Or is legislation, once in place, so sacred that it cannot be amended or preferably abrogated immediately when it turns out to discriminate against the indigenous nation in the North? I repeat, I am just asking.. I don`t have the answers..


Finally, a demonstration of "stolen" music.

Thank you for your attention!

Almmuhan: 30.10.2004
Almmuhan: Mihkku Solbakk