The current versions of the proposed copyright Directive hand out the power to define the scope of permitted uses to right holders – in the form of license agreements that they can (almost unilateral) draft and frame as they wish – which is strongly inadvisable.

Licences fragment the legal framework that mandatory exceptions try to harmonize.

They also might result in higher costs for schools.


We have analysed 10 educational licences for using copyrighted content in schools in France, Finland and the United Kingdom.

Licences contain terms disadvantageous to schools:

Restrict the scope of protection


● 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.

Questionable rights to rightsholders


● 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.

Burdensome obligations


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.