The copyright framework in Europe is fragmented.
As a consequence many educators struggle when dealing with copyright. It is unclear what they can use and what they can share.
It is well known that the rules that allow for educational uses of copyrighted works without permission of the rightsholders vary greatly between countries. But how different are those rules?
In 2014 we mapped the existing educational exceptions in all the European countries, and we found major differences that prevent cross-border education:
Here are the most important impacts of legal fragmentation:
Different rules in different countries lead to unequal possibilities. Where in some countries it is possible to share a poem in class in others it is not. Where in some countries educators can show a YouTube video, in other countries they cannot. This means that students have different learning opportunities depending on how copyright is shaped in their country.
Educators should not have to be lawyers to understand what they can and cannot use when providing education. The fragmented framework makes copyright very complicated. Educators do not have the time to learn all the intricacies of the law. This results in a lot of legal uncertainty for teachers.
Since there are different rules in each country, something that might be legal in one might not be in another. The internet allows educators to easily cooperate with educators from other institutions, even cross-border. Since copyright rules are not the same across the EU, educators can not easily share material.