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SWD IA on EU copyright modernisation – impacts of first option for use of protected content in digital and cross-border teaching activities

Guidance to MS and stakeholders’ dialogue on raising awareness in the education community on the use of protected works for teaching purposes

Option 1 would allow reducing, to a certain extent, the current legal uncertainty faced by educational establishments and teachers in the digital environment. The actual impact would depend on actions taken by MS following the guidance provided by the Commission. In the best-case scenario, Option 1 could result in digital uses being allowed under the national implementations of the teaching exception; however this would not be sufficient to provide cross-border effect for the use of protected content under the exception.

Efforts to raise awareness among teachers and students on the scope of the exception and the uses allowed under licences could bring positive results and are likely to be well accepted. In fact, teachers are often not aware of the licences purchased by their educational establishment. Measures aimed at raising awareness on copyright rules were the type of solutions that gathered strongest support both from users and copy rightholders according to survey.

Impacts on costs for educational establishments: the transaction costs described in the baseline option could only be reduced if MS clarify the application of the exception to digital uses on the basis of the Commission’s guidance.

The impacts of this option on rightholders are expected to be rather limited and would mainly depend on the possible changes introduced in MS legislation. On the one hand, this option may limit the rightholders’ ability to license certain types of educational uses (e.g. digital copying, scanning, posting on the school’s intranet – if digital uses become covered by national exceptions). On the other hand, the dialogue with users in the education community may bring positive results in the medium to long term by reducing the cases of unauthorised uses.

Option 1 could have a positive impact on the further development of digitally-supported education practices and indirectly on the acquisition of digital skills. The obstacles to cross-border education would nevertheless persist. There may be some positive impacts in terms of wider access to cultural works as a result of teachers’ extended ability to use protected content in digital teaching practices (depending on the extent to which MS follow the guidance and/or the success of stakeholders’ discussions).

Option 1 would have no direct impact on the right of property, as it would not expand the scope of the existing teaching exception but provide guidance on the conditions of use of protected content under the existing exception. The impact on the right to education would be similar to the baseline option.