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Article 4


What is the education exception?

“Using works, both in and out of copyright, to illustrate points while teaching is central to education (e.g. showing a painting or playing part of a broadcast). So is the use of, and quotation from, copyright protected works in academic theses.(…) While many countries have indeed
implemented [the 2001 education exception], it is unclear whether it should apply to digital or distance learning, in particular across borders (such as for MOOCs). There is also no certainty about whether libraries, which offer training to around 24 million Europeans a year, can also make use of it. ” – Joint Paper by IFLA, EBLIDA, PL2020, Europeana and LIBER

A GOOD education exception

Is Mandatory

Educators need to be able to benefit from an education exception that applies for all educators across the European Union. Only if all EU Member States are obliged to implement such an exception, can you be sure that the same rules apply when offering cross border education initiatives, for example in the context of massive open online course (MOOCs).

Is not about licences

Educators need to be able to rely on an exception that cannot be overridden by licenses, in order to create a clear framework that provides them legal certainty when creating material for their pupils.

Has a broad scope that covers all educational purposes

Modern education is conducted by a multitude of institutions, and even learners themselves. An exception needs to cover all these potential beneficiaries, to ensure that everyone can enjoy the same harmonised framework.

Has a broad scope that covers all educational spaces

Educational activities are provided in many locations and through various means of communication.

Therefore, an exception should not limit educational activities to the classroom walls or to secure institutional networks. Educators need an exception that allows them to develop and conduct educational activities in other facilities such as libraries and museums, and to use modern means of communication, such as emails and the cloud.

Does not have artificial barriers between digital and non-digital uses

An educational exception should not distinguish between digital and non-digital uses, it should cover both, in order to ensure a clear and harmonised framework for educators to work with, instead of creating more confusion.

Does not create an obligation for compensation

An exception should not impose an obligation for compensation, especially seeing that 17 out of 28 Member States currently have education exceptions that do not impose such compensation obligations.

A BAD education exception

Centered around licensing

An exception that can be overruled by licensing offers is pointless. This will not contribute to harmonising the copyright framework, and instead will actually lead to even more legal fragmentation, and might lead to higher costs for educational establishments.

Limited to ‘educational establishments’

Framing an educational exception in such a way that the use of the material is bound to be locked tightly into the four walls of the classroom, or at best, extended to the secured network of the educational establishment, does not match with the reality of education in the 21st century. This excludes other institutions, such as cultural heritage institutions that consider it part of their public mission to educate pupils about Europe’s culture, to properly contribute to non-formal educational activities.

Limited to digital uses

Adopting a separate exception for ‘digital uses’, implies that educators and students will have to assess their use of copyrighted works based on (1) the existing exceptions applying to paper copies and (2) a new exception for digital uses. This is counterproductive as it only adds a layer of complexity to the copyright framework, instead of making it easier to understand and comply with.

Obligation for compensation

An exception imposing an obligation for fair compensation, would force all a large majority of the EU Member States to impose fair compensation for educational uses, whilst 17 out of 28 Member States currently have education exceptions that do not impose fair compensation obligations.

Open letters / Statements

Infographics / Factsheets