Educational Institutions in Europe advocate for a better copyright reform for education

There are many controversial things about current european copyright reform. We mainly hear about the fear of censorship of user-generated content or attempt to introduce something called ‘link tax’ to ensure press publishers right to control over the digital use of their content. But education? There are not many people, who will disagree that what Europe needs right now is a modern education system enhancing creativity, innovation and economic growth. Not to mention the importance of lifelong learning and the need of improving the quality and efficiency of education. Still repeated demand for digital skills and competences sounds like a cliche. You can find all of it well written down in EU documents and programs concerning education and training. So, there is one important question – why, when dealing with copyright issues, all these great ideas about the importance of education get forgotten?

EC proposal will make teachers life harder

Current European Commission’s proposal is so complicated that even lawyers can’t provide a simple answer when and how educational exception will apply. EC proposed mandatory exception, but it can be override by licenses. Teachers won’t be able to use the same educational materials conducting classes in a public library and school building. Different rules will apply depending on the digital and analogue use of works. This is just the beginning of a long list of outrageous things that will affect everyday teacher’s life. Teachers should teach, instead of becoming experts on copyright law.

EC proposal will lower the quality of education

What teacher fear the most is lowering the quality of education. If a publisher offers a license to buy a material that teacher were using under the exception, they will be forced accept the terms and prices or just to stop using the material. It can prevents educators to use the best educational sources just because it takes too much time or money to get a license. As a result students will get only a partial view of history or current events.

Join us to make better copyright for education

We are fighting for better copyright for education since the beginning of copyright reform in Europe. In February we sent a joint letter to MEPs, which was supported by 34 organisations and 17 individuals. In the letter we note our concerns on proposed educational exception to copyright. As we promised, we are continuing our work.

That is why on Monday, November 13th we have met  in Brussels with representatives from key educational institutions in Europe and advocates for copyright reform to discuss the recent developments around the DSM proposal. Not much time has left, because the vote in the most important committee (JURI) on the DSM Directive is currently planned for January 2018. But we know that this is a once in a generation opportunity to create law that fits modern education.

We believe that educators should have freedom to teach and to choose resources that they need. We are now preparing an action plan for the coming weeks to make sure the voice of educators is heard in Brussels. If you want to be part of our community and raise your voice for better copyright for education, let us know at and sign up for our monthly newsletter.

King Charles II of England addresses members of the Estates General, 1660, Theodor Matham, after Jacob Toorenvliet, 1660
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