The adoption of ISNIs in Copyright Management Organisations

The Finnish Copyright Management Organisations (CMO) Gramex, Kopiosto, Kuvasto, Sanasto and Teosto are involved in a project, in which a comprehensive range of international creative-sector contributor identifiers will be acquired for the rightholders represented by the organisations, the process involving International Standard Name Identifiers (ISNI) will be developed, and the quality of the metadata in the CMO databases will be enhanced. The National Library of Finland coordinates the project in the capacity of the national ISNI registration agency.

The ISNI project consists of two overlapping stages. During the first stage (February 2022–December 2023), ISNIs will be acquired for rightholders represented by the Finnish CMOs. During the second stage (January 2023–December 2024), interfaces will be constructed to enable the effective distribution of ISNIs, and metadata in the CMO databases will be enriched.

Goal and tasks

The goal of the first stage of the project is to acquire a comprehensive range of ISNIs for the rightholders represented by various CMOs. In practice, this means adding ISNIs to the rightholder data in the CMO databases.

The key goals of the second stage include the effective and up-to-date distribution and use of ISNIs in the copyright sector, the improvement of the quality of contributor metadata, and the development of a long-term vision for a national ISNI ecosystem. The development of versatile and efficient interfaces will enable the piloting of a continuous ISNI process, while the review of CMO’s?metadata will ensure the high quality and interoperability of contributor metadata. Moreover, the exploration of new opportunities for using ISNIs will provide a solid foundation for developing new collaboration or services.

ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) is used to uniquely identify any individuals and organisations contributing to creative activities, such as authors, performers, composers, visual artists, producers and publishers.

The adoption and wide use of ISNIs provides Finnish CMOs with better opportunities for identifying domestic creative-sector contributors in the international context. At the same time, they set certain requirements for the quality of contributor-related metadata and for the harmonisation of metadata collected about contributors.

The aim of the ISNI is to be an identifier shared between different organisations that use contributor identifiers and to enable data enrichment among CMOs and their partners.


The key benefit of the project is the reliable identification of contributors to creative works with an international identifier regardless of the field of art. Internationally, the project is the first to introduce ISNIs in a coordinated manner throughout the copyright sector in a single country. As the ISNI is international, public and widely used, its use in the systems of Finnish CMOs will facilitate the identification of contributors to creative works and improve the reliability and interoperability of the data related to contributors. Adopting a common, global and well-functioning identifier will ensure closer cooperation and improved service to the CMOs’ customers. The project will develop a back-end infrastructure that is not directly visible to the end users, but will enable better services.

? The effects of the project extend across the CMO sector, and the benefits are estimated to be significant. The adoption of the ISNI will bring new practices to the sector and contribute to developing the use, availability and management of digital data in the sector. The use of the identifier, which is quickly becoming more common internationally, opens up new opportunities with regard to transmitting metadata related to the works and creative contributors.

Project setters

Ministry of Education and Culture



Extension term


Project status

In progress


The Ministry of Education and Culture has granted subsidies to Copyright Management Organisations for promoting the reform and digitalization of cultural and creative services as well as the related production and operating models. For more information about the structural support for cultural and creative sectors, see the ministry’s website (in Finnish).
The structural support for cultural and creative sectors is part of Finland’s national recovery and resilience plan. Finland’s recovery and resilience plan is funded by the Next Generation EU programmes of the EU’s one-time recovery instrument.


The project first stageruns until the end of 2023. The second stage lasts until 2024.

Information about topical issues can be found on the dedicated project website (in Finnish).


The project involves the Copyright Management Organisations Gramex, Kopiosto, Kuvasto, Sanasto and Teosto. The National Library of Finland acts as the national ISNI Registration Agency and coordinates the project.