In the next year the European Parliament and the European Council will decide what educators can legally do when it comes to using, publishing, and adapting sources that are normally protected by copyright over the course of the next ten years. The legislation that is now being made is the type of legislation that is mandatory for all EU member states to adapt in their national legislation, and therefore will have a big impact on your educational practices. Because everything that is created, unless it is licensed under an open licence, remains in copyright until 70 years after the death of its creator, almost all sources related to teaching and learning history of the twentieth century, are protected by copyright. So, almost all music, paintings, films, documentaries, press photographs, and other types of sources you are not allow to use, unless there is copyright exception for education.
The good news, is that the new legislation includes a European wide exception that is mandatory for education. But the bad news is that this exception in its current form, only allows for the use of parts of the source (image using only a part of painting), only for the time that is needed for the learning of the student (which is ambiguous), only on online environments of 1 school (which would not allow for online school partnerships), and to make it mandatory for states to pay for the collective licenses. Also, there is an exception on the exception, which means that copyright rules can still be different from country to country, making the legislation unnecessarily complex. EUROCLIO is working with Communia and the Lifelong Learning Platform to change this legislation for the better, and with this you can help.
You can help us by:
- Signing the joint letter (Communia – Joint Letter – Educators ask for a better copyright) in which educators ask for a better copyright on behalf of your institution. You can do so by sending your official organisation logo before 11 January 2018 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sharing your experience of copyright by filling in this form. EUROCLIO and its partners will use these answers to inform Members of Parliament how copyright is affecting educators in practice, and what therefore needs to change.
Thank you very much for your help!
Early next year, the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Commission will vote on a new directive concerning the use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes across the EU. The directive, in theory, aims to expand upon existing exemptions from copyright legislation in education at an EU level. While this sounds desirable, in reality the directive falls short of this goal, and contains numerous caveats that would in fact hinder the continuous development of high quality, cross-border educational resources. In response to this, EUROCLIO, in partnership with COMMUNIA and the Lifelong Learning Platform, amongst others, are advocating for the development of a more open and effective copyright framework that would allow educators the freedom to fully take advantage of the technologies available to them, thus making high quality education more accessible for all.
Representatives from EUROCLIO and a variety of other institutions including COMMUNIA, Wikimedia, and SPARC Europe, met at the offices of the Lifelong Learning Platform in Brussels in November to strategise and streamline these advocacy efforts for better copyright in education. As it stands, the directive would serve to allow for the sharing of copyrighted materials for educative purposes, but only under certain circumstances that we believe to be inadequate for the modern teaching and learning environment, and the meeting provided a space to articulate the most pressing of these concerns.
The meeting arrived at the identification of the following primary concerns with the current directive:
- Limited scope and clarity of the exception: in order for the exception to be effective and beneficial in a practical learning environment, it needs to apply across the board, and make clear to educators what they can and cannot do. Currently, the directive does not do this. Instead, it allows for the exception to be overturned by certain licenses, and essentially provides an “exception to the exception”, maintaining an unclear and fragmented system that would not allow educators the freedom needed to deliver high quality education in a digital world.
- Exclusion of key educational stakeholders: The exception remains limited to “formal” education institutions, meaning that professionals from museums, libraries, civil society organisations, and other organisations providing “non-formal” and “informal” education, would still be limited in what materials they can use. This would be harmful to the development of adult education and the work of those providing useful workshops in the voluntary sector, for example.
- Closed Networks: Under the current directive, the exemption to copyright legislation would only apply within the boundaries of formal education institutions, including online materials (so, materials could only be shared through an internal network). This is unrealistic in the 21st century, where education takes place in a multitude of locations, and across many different platforms. With technology that allows for EU-wide accessibility to high-quality education, it is detrimental and illogical not to take advantage of this and to restrict the sharing of materials to an internal process.
The issue was highlighted further by EUROCLIO Deputy Director Steven Stegers when collecting the award for Best Practice in Education and Innovation Pedagogy for Historiana‘s eLearning Environment at Lifelong Learning Week, as the current directive would seriously impact the efficacy and quality of the Historiana platform, and received further support from various people present at the awards.
Follow @EUROCLIO on Twitter and Facebook for continued updates and calls for further input on this issue, as well as the Lifelong Learning Platform, who will be coordinating a taskforce on the issue.
On 21 June 2016, EUROCLIO’s Programme Director Steven Stegers accompanied by trainee Henrik Hartmann travelled to Brussels to advocate for a European wide copyright exception for education at the European Parliament. Hereby EUROCLIO would like to thank everyone who answered the survey on copyright that Henrik Hartmann and Jonathan Even-Zohar shared with you.
This information has been used to share with policy makers in Brussels how copyright is impacting history educators across Europe. Steven Stegers argued that educational goals should be more important than copyright, and expressed EUROCLIO’s belief that copyright regulations should enable and protect educators to deliver the best education for their students, and not be a barrier to learning. Because of your answers EUROCLIO could argue that a copyright exception for education is needed, that is easy to understand, that applies in all EU countries, and is suited to the realities of education.
In the coming months different Members of European Parliament will vote on the legislation. EUROCLIO will keep you all updated how this process is going and what we can do together to ensure that educators get the legal certainty that they can use and share historical information and teaching and learning resources. #rightcopyright