Today, we publish joint conclusions on better copyright for higher education and research together with ETUCE / EI federations of teachers’ trade unions and EFEE, the European Federation of Education Employers. This document is an outcome of a joint high level conference organized on 11 April 2018 in Brussels, with the financial support of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The event marked for us an important opportunity to discuss with education stakeholders how copyright law can support sound educational policy. This been the goal of our Copyright for Education project, initiated two years ago. Through this project, we have been aiming to strengthen the visibility and position of education stakeholders in the copyright reform debate – in particular with extent to issues like the education exception, which affects them directly.
This joint initiative was coordinated by ETUCE, also with the goal of lobbying for good copyright for education during the vote in the European Parliament on 20 June. The shared conclusions from the conference partners stress that:
#1: A genuine copyright exception
Educators would benefit from an EU-wide education exception – without mandatory remuneration – , which educators can rely upon across the European Union and which defines a minimum standard. Removing copyright restrictions on the digital use of illustrative materials including textbooks for educational purposes would increase legal certainty as this would reduce the financial burdens on education systems and institutions.
#2 Copyright and social dialogue
The European Commission should ensure that social partners are consulted in the national implementation of the EU copyright directive. The selection of works for teaching and learning as well as related quality assurance measures need to take place at national level, as this is an exclusive national competence of Member States.
#3: Balance between the rights of teachers as users and the rights of teachers as creators
The new EU-wide exception should balance the rights of creators and users. Students, teachers, school leaders, researchers and other educational personnel have an interest in fair remuneration and correct attribution as well as in making knowledge accessible for public interest activities including education and research.
#4: Remuneration should not be mandatory
Payments should therefore remain optional and any changes to this model should be subject to consultation with the respective Ministries of Education.
#5: Closed-door policy
An EU-wide exception for non-commercial educational purposes that cannot be sidelined by licenses and that cannot be overridden by a private contract but that at the same time respects successful national Copyright models in certain EU countries is crucial. An EU-wide exception that includes all relevant providers of education, including libraries and other educational establishments, and an exception that permits the diversity of educational uses – both digital and analogue – of copyrighted content is fundamental.