Copyright determines the extent to which a teacher may use, share or adapt any material made by someone else. Libraries, archives and museums provide informal education on their premises on a regular basis. However, many European countries’ legislation does not take account of cultural heritage institutions within their exceptions and limitations to copyright for educational purposes.
IFLA welcomes and supports the rightcopyright campaign initiated by COMMUNIA. They are collecting signatures until the 15th May to be presented to Members of the European Parliament, and educators, in particularly those working in libraries, are also invited to share the problems they face when dealing with copyright. The more people engage, the stronger the message we send.
Why your help is needed
Today, many educators, teachers and researchers face difficulties in doing their job while using creative material for educational purposes. It is necessary to ensure that the current proposal of the European Commission to modernise copyright (the Draft Directive) is also up to date on education. Educators have embraced the possibilities created by technology, and so should copyright.
However, some aspects of the Draft Directive do not go in this direction.
- First of all, the exception only applies to professors and students of educational establishments, which would exclude education provided through libraries, from early literacy to coding classes, and from creative writing to job-related training.
- Second, it will only apply to digital uses, creating different legal regimes for digital and ‘analogue’ teaching. It does not make sense for an educator to have to consult regulations each time they switch between a book and a screen.
- Finally, Member States may choose not to implement this exception if adequate licenses are “easily” available in the market. This opens the door to obliging educators to pay for using a work to illustrate points in lessons, even if the work itself was never marketed with this in mind.
Now, the European Parliament has the possibility to change the proposal for the better.
What you can do to help
COMMUNIA has developed the campaign to collect petitions from educators throughout Europe to let the Members of the European Parliament know that a better copyright for education is needed. The European Parliament will vote on the proposal later this year, and can change, accept or reject it. We will present the outcomes of the petition in the European Parliament, showing them the voice of the European citizens aiming for a good-quality education, and a copyright framework that matches.
You can sign the petition here, and share the campaign with your colleagues, friends and family via email, social media or even face to face. The website offers further resources – tweets, posts and images. Good luck!