Status of Finnish coats of arms
The referenced statements of the copyright council are in Finnish only, so many will not be able to read the statements themselves. I suggest that there should be a link to somewhere, where the question is discussed a little more.
Finnish copyright law says that decisions and statement by public bodies are exempted from copyright. Unlike Sweden this is true also for images. The problem is whether the depictions of coats of arms themselves are included in the decision. The decision process was earlier such that the "official" depictions automatically became part of the decision. The statements did not make clear that this would be the case with the current legislation about coats of arms of municipalities; whether or not the coats of arms are in the public domain might depend on the details in the process.
For coats of arms older than 1997 the case is clear, as they were discussed, but not necessarily for newer ones, if they significantly differ from earlier designs. The latter was not the case for newer coats of arms discussed in the statements – which shows that changing some details does not give copyright to the new design.
There should be some kind of warning that given a coat of arms with a totally new design one should look at the decision process to be sure that also this coat of arms is exempted from copyright.
Unofficial and retrospective coats of arms
It is true that the Finnish copyright law exempts "decisions and statements issued by public authorities or other public bodies" (). Thus a coat of arms becomes PD when approved by a municipal council (fi:kunnanvaltuusto). — But surely this does not apply to coats of arms that weren't ever officially approved. For example, the CoA of Pyhajärvi Vpl (File:Pyhajarvi VL.jpg) was retrospectively created in 1989 by an artist (see ), while the municipality of Pyhäjärvi Vpl had been ceded to Soviet Union in 1944 and officially discontinued as a municipality in 1948. Claiming PD status as a "decision issued by public authority" seems quite inappropriate in such cases. --Jmk (talk) 13:34, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
- Definitively. Some such coats of arms may still be PD because of similarity with other designs. The cited decisions discuss some official coats of arms where this is the prime reason for them to be PD. --LPfi (talk) 15:57, 26 August 2013 (UTC)