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2 minutes to read Posted on Wednesday April 19, 2017

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Fixing copyright for education with COMMUNIA

The debates surrounding EU copyright reform touches many areas of the Europeana Network. The COMMUNIA International Association on the Public Domain advocates for a better copyright for heritage and education: together with 33 other organisations including Europeana, we distributed a joint letter on a better copyright reform for education in February. To foster, strengthen and enrich the Public Domain, COMMUNIA brings together a network of activists, researchers and practitioners from universities, NGOs and SME established in 10 Member States. Lisette Kalshoven tells us about their recently launched campaign aiming to fix copyright for education. Find out how you can get involved to influence European legislators.


Vandejong, CC0

Advocating for a better copyright in education

As it has already been documented on Europeana Pro blog, The European Commission has presented a new European copyright law (Draft Directive) to the European Parliament which very much impacts education and heritage. Communia believes that the current proposal is very disappointing and does not facilitate education. Educators have embraced the modern possibilities of digital resources, and so should copyright. Therefore, COMMUNIA has developed a campaign website to collect petitions of educators throughout Europe and let the European Parliamentarians know we need a better copyright for education.

The European parliament will vote on the draft directive later this year, and can change, accept or reject it. COMMUNIA will present the outcomes of the petition in the European Parliament, with a goal of showing them the voice of citizens eager for a good-quality education, and an EU copyright system that enables it.

Consequences for education and heritage

Copyright affects education. It determines the extent to which a teacher may use, share or remix any material made by someone else. In some cases, there is a special exception to copyright for education in the European Union. Unfortunately, there are still many things teachers do that are not allowed. European countries have implemented the current EU copyright laws in a different ways, which makes it very difficult for teachers to know what they can and cannot do or share.

One of the main points of the campaign is that Cultural Heritage Institutions should be included in the exception, recognising them for the great role they have in the education ecosystem.

Legal research on the educational exceptions and limitations, Teresa Nobre, illustrations by André Rocha CC0

What you can do to

Please visit the campaign website and sign the petition if you support a better copyright for education. We would love it if you shared the campaign with your colleagues, friends and family via mail, social media or face to face. You can find sample tweets, posts and images on the campaign website. It is available in 12 European languages.

If you would like to know more about the campaign, or have questions, please contact Lisette Kalshoven at [email protected].

Note: On behalf of the Network, Europeana represents the view of Cultural Heritage Institutions in these debates around eu copyright reform. You can read the full consensus driven mandate here. The mandate was approved with a clear majority of the Europeana network Members Council, with a small number of organisations recording their dissent (which are clearly recorded in the mandate).