Sámi Cultural Heritage and Legal Frameworks: An Overview of Copyright and Archive Laws in Finland, Sweden and Norway

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The project Digital Access to Sámi Heritage Archives was established in 2018. The purpose of the project was to improve the accessibility of Sámi cultural heritage materials by developing a technical solution with which to easily find these materials from different archives and collections. While working towards the goals of improving aforementioned accessibility, ethical instructions were formulated with regards to the use of archive materials. The justification behind these ethical guidelines was the continuous misrepresentation of Sámi culture as well as certain ways of using cultural heritage materials which can be considered offensive and harmful.

The work-package on ethical guidelines included three main fields of action. Firstly, the purpose was to examine the legislation regarding intellectual property rights and archives, especially from the perspective of Indigenous cultural heritage. Secondly, existing ethical guidelines regarding Indigenous cultural heritage were examined, in order to find common principles that could be used as a basis for creating the project’s own ethical guidelines. Lastly, based on the findings of the previous two actions, ethical guidelines were formulated. This article concentrates on the first part: the analysis of legal frameworks with a focus on Finnish legislation in particular. This article answers the following research question: What are the shortcomings of these legal frameworks in relation to Indigenous cultural heritage?

The article concludes that as an area of legislation such as copyright law is deeply rooted in history and societal values, changing it is therefore difficult. While amending the legal framework should be of primary importance, ethical guidelines may prove to be an agile tool to articulate the views of Indigenous peoples for now.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIDA, Arctic Indigenous Design Archives
Subtitle of host publicationárdna sámáidahttit duojáriid ja dáiddariid priváhta arkiivvaid
EditorsGunvor Guttorm, Marit Breie Henriksen, Anna Westman Kuhmunen, Inker-Anni Linkola-Aikio
Place of PublicationGuovdageaidnu
PublisherSámi allaskuvla
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-82-7367-017-5
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series


Field of science

  • Law


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