The current version of the proposed copyright Directive gives educators and learners the freedom to use copyrighted content for educational purposes.
However, the law contains a rule according to which educators and learners lose that right if copyright owners start selling licences for those contents - which is strongly inadvisable.
The terms and conditions of a licence might not be subject to negotiation. Licences fragment the legal framework that mandatory exceptions try to harmonize. And they might also result in higher costs for schools.
We analysed 10 educational licences for using copyrighted content in schools in France, Finland and the United Kingdom.
Licences contain terms disadvantageous to schools:
● Only allow schools to copy, scan, and use the materials that they own or have a subscription to.
These means that the teachers and the students cannot use materials owned by themselves, borrowed from a library, or available online.
● Do not allow teachers and students to insert, in the digital copies made under the licence, any hypertext links (or the like) to any external or third-party website.
This prevents teachers and students from legally comparing, verifying, and updating information and knowledge.
● Allows licensors to inspect materials, secured networks, and storage platforms used by schools without being required to keep the information obtained confidential.
This permits the disclosure and commercial use of sensitive information, such as student performance data.
● Allows licensors to enter the school’s premises at any time, as many times as they want, provided that they give reasonable notice to the schools.
This is aimed to ensure compliance with the licence and inspect procedures but can disrupt the normal operation of schools.
Require schools to take reasonable steps to ensure that licences are not infringed by teachers, students, and third parties.
This creates an excessive burden on schools that have to start policing teachers, students, parents, and third parties.