Author: Alek Tarkowski

Estonian Presidency Makes One More Step Towards Licensing Educational Content

[Reposted from Communia Association, Link, (CC-0)] Do you remember the idea of educational fair use? The idea that education can benefit from a broad, flexible exception for a wide range of uses of copyrighted content while teaching and learning? The question is worth asking, as this progressive approach to copyright and education has not been mentioned even once in the ongoing European copyright reform process. It is a sign of how far away we are from right copyright for education. Instead, we are being pulled ever deeper into an opposite model, in which licensing is seen as the best copyright solution for educators and educational institutions. The Council of the European Union has just made one more step in that direction. A quick reminder where we are with the copyright reform process in Brussels: the key vote in the JURI committee is continuously extended, and currently is planned for January 2018. The date should be seen as tentative. In the meantime, one more committee – the civil liberties committee LIBE – will make it’s vote in late November (but with a sole focus on the controversial article 13, the content filter article). As we await decisions to be made in the European Parliament, a proposal from the Council, prepared by the Estonian Presidency, has recently surfaced. Unfortunately, it spells one more step towards the licensing chasm for the educational sector. Enter Extended Collective Licensing...

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EU Committee on Culture and Education Wants Educators to Pay for Content That They Now Use for Free

[Alek Tarkowski and Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] Last week, the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) of the European Parliament voted on its final opinion concerning the Commission’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Copyright law in the shape proposed by the CULT MEPs would spell disaster for educators and educational institutions across Europe. This post aims to provide educators with an overview of the changes to the draft Directive proposed by rapporteur Marc Joulaud, a French MEP from the EPP group, and then through amendments by the members of CULT. We start with an analysis of two clashing logics visible in the CULT debate, followed by an overview of key decisions made during the vote. We finish with advice on next steps in the ongoing fight to secure an educational exception that meets the needs of educators. If you want to learn more, we have been covering the policy process from the start, with a focus on how the new law will affect educators. Copyright and education: two clashing views There are two clashing viewpoints in the ongoing debate on the new educational exception, and each represents a different approach for how to achieve the goals defined by the Commission in its Communication on the DSM strategy and subsequent Directive. These goals include “facilitating new uses in the fields of research and education” and providing a “modernised framework for...

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The Delhi University Case: Equity in Education More Important Than Copyrights

[Communia-Association, Link (CC-0)] As the copyright reform process continues in Europe, it is worth noting the result of an Indian case concerning photocopying and the extent of the educational exception. In 2012, Delhi University and a small photocopy shop named Rameshwari Photocopy Service were sued by Oxford and Cambridge University Presses together with the Taylor & Francis Group. The publishers alleged that the photocopying of substantial excerpts from their publications and issuing or selling them in course packs infringed their copyrights. They also argued that Delhi University should obtain a license from the Indian Reprographic Rights Organization in order to make the copies. Publishers lost both the initial court case and the appeal. In what can be seen as a landmark case, the court provided an expansive interpretation of the Indian educational copyright exception. It highlighted issues of educational equity as a central feature of the decision. The Delhi University case is worth considering as we debate copyright and education in Europe. In the ongoing reform, we should focus our efforts on advocating for what a well-functioning education ecosystem requires to promote successful teaching and learning, and less on protecting publishers’ licensing solutions. This is not just about copyright What struck many observers of the case was the overt inequality between the sides. On one hand, we have an Indian public university and a local, family-run photocopy shop. On...

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Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and Development Introduces Open Licensing Requirements

[Reposted from Centrum Cyfrowe, Link (CC-BY)]  In October, the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MIR) has announced a grant competition for digital literacy education projects, with a total value of PLN 180 million (EUR 45 million). It is one of several recently launched grant programs that include a requirement to openly license and make freely available resources created with public funding. Total value of the announced competitions exceeds PLN 400 million (approx. EUR 100 million). Furthermore, a requirement to openly license educational resources is present in general guidelines for educational activities funded in Poland from the European Social Fund – a funding source with an overall budget of over EUR 35 billion, to be spent until 2020. This requirement is among the biggest open policies implemented today (in terms of the volume of funding covered by the rule). EQUAL program and the origins of open policies for EU funds spending in Poland This type of requirement was first introduced by the Polish public administration in the EU-funded EQUAL program, running between 2004 and 2008 (administered by MIR – at that time called the Ministry of Regional Development, MRR). Since then, several ministries, including Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Administration and Digitisation, have included such requirements in their grant programs. New policies, implemented by MIR mark a continuation of this approach. At the same time, new developments mean that the rule of “public availability of publicly...

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Securing User Rights in Education – Reflections from Our Policy Debate

[Cross posted from the Communia Assoc., Link (CC-0)] How to secure user rights in education? This was the question we asked during a policy debate organised by Communia and hosted by MEP Michał Boni in the European Parliament on the 17th of November. Panelists, politicians and stakeholders participating in this debate discussed two approaches: the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), and a progressive copyright reform for education. While these issues are usually presented separately, as Communia we see them as two aspects of a single effort to ensure user rights in education. This two-path approach has been acknowledged at least since 2013, when the Creative Commons community argued that the movement behind open licensing policies needs to be involved in the copyright reform debate as well. Today in Europe, we are facing both developments related to OER policies (related to the Opening Up Education initiative, launched in 2013), and a copyright reform process in which education has been highlighted by the EC to be one of key areas for modernisation of copyright. Throughout the meeting, policies supporting OER and copyright law reform were presented as two solutions that are complementary, not mutually exclusive. This issue was highlighted by Michał Boni in his introductory speech, which highlighted the innovative potential for OERs—but also spoke about the need of securing a strong, harmonised copyright exception for educational uses....

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Creative Commons Summit: Next Steps in Copyright Reform

[Originally posted on the Communia Blog, Link] The Creative Commons Summit, a bi-annual meeting of members of the CC network and friends of the Commons, took place in mid-October in Seoul, South Korea. One of the event’s tracks was devoted to copyright reform advocacy. The track was organised by member organisations of Communia, including Creative Commons. In 2013, during the previous CC Summit, Creative Commons adopted a position on copyright reform. CC re-emphasized that even though the licenses are an essential mechanism to share creativity within the existing bounds of the law, it is now more important than ever to engage in a review and modernisation of copyright law itself. This commitment was confirmed during this year event. Julia Reda: CC should be more than a copyright fig leaf Communia was especially honored to have MEP Julia Reda, the author of the European copyright evaluation report, give a keynote at the Summit. Reda stressed that while CC has been successful in showing how the copyright debate can be reframed, the values embraced by CC are not present enough in policy debates. Even worse, the existence and successes of Creative Commons licensing can be used as proof that the current system of copyright works, and that no fundamental change  is needed. “Be more than a fig leaf”, Reda told CC activists. The danger, according to Reda, is that CC will...

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Expand Public Domain and User Rights: COMMUNIA position paper on copyright reform

[Reposted from Communia, Link] We are publishing today our position paper on copyright reform in Europe (PDF), as a statement in the ongoing debate that focuses on the reform of the Information Society Directive. Our position is based on the 14 policy recommendations that are at the heart of our organisation, as well as on our previous policy documents. We start by defining three basic principles: Exclusive rights should be limited. The public domain should not be eroded by legal or technical means. Limitations and exceptions to copyright should continue playing their role of adapting copyright to technological changes. Based on them, we formulate 12 positions on  the EU copyright framework reform. We will be using them as guidance for our own advocacy work – but we present them also as recommendations for policy makers. These positions are result of a discussion on ways of translating a general principle of defending and expanding the public domain into recommendations that fit onto current policy debates in Europe.  In this light we are pleased to see that the majority of our positions have been covered by MEP Reda in her draft report on the implementation of of the InfoSoc...

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Postcard from the Open Educational Resources Workshop in Porto

[Reposted from oerpolicy.eu, Link, (CC-BY)]  At the very beginning of October, Creative Commons’ OER policy project organised a two-day workshop in Porto, gathering 15 Open Education enthusiasts, educators, advisors, lawyers and experts on Creative Commons licensing.  Apart from representatives from CC Sweden, CC Spain, CC Poland, CC Netherlands and of course CC Portugal, we were very happy to be able to reach out to other communities and have Rob from OER Research Hub present, as well as Ana and Ricardo from Journalism++, Eduardo who is conducting a PhD on OER, and last but not least from Heitor Alvelos, creator of the Future Places festival. The event was the first official event organised by the “rebooted” CC Portugal, at the wonderful lab space of the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto (UPTEC). The workshop was organized at the end of the initial “OER Policy for Europe” project, with the goal of creating a basis for the continuation of our work. To this end, we decided to create a toolkit that can be used to organize a self-learning workshop on Open Educational Resources and policies that support them. With the help of the toolkit, we would like to ask OER enthusiasts to organize such workshops around the world, during the Open Education Week in 2015. The toolkit, as we imagine it, should consist of following materials: Workshop materials:...

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Educational Resources Development: Mapping Copyright Exceptions and Limitations in Europe

[Cross posted from the European Open Edu Policy Project, Link (CC-BY)]  It is well known that the rules that allow for certain educational uses of copyrighted works under certain conditions without permission of the rights’ owners vary greatly between countries. But how different are those rules? And how difficult is to access those differences? Can a teacher with no legal background determine alone whether a certain use is allowed or not in his/her country? We are answering these questions in a new working paper titled „Educational Resources Development: Mapping Copyright Exceptions and Limitations in Europe”, prepared by Teresa Nobre (Legal Lead of Creative Commons Portugal). The study is an investigation of the fragmented European landscape of copyright exceptions and limitations for educational purposes, across 44 European states. We intend to understand the obstacles faced by teachers in each of the countries analyzed. The shape of L&Es translates into limits to the free usage of content in education – and the more complicated the rules are, the more difficult they are for educators to follow. The Open Educational Resources model has been traditionally seen as avoiding altogether the standard copyright regulations, by relying on a voluntary, free licensing model that establishes broad user rights for educators. The fragmentation of L&Es further proves the importance  of open licenses for the development and dissemination of educational resources. Yet it is impossible for...

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“Really Open Education” – Reflections from Creative Commons Policy Debate

[CC European Open Education Policy Project, Link, (CC-BY)] On the 18th of February, Creative Commons organized a debate on „Really Open Education. Domestic Policies for Open Educational Resources”, hosted by Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein, MEP. The meeting brought together almost 40 experts and stakeholders from a range of educational projects, national schooling systems, and national and international non-governmental organizations across Europe. The debate started with a presentation of three national initiatives. Hans de Four, founder of the Belgian KlasCement, presented the project. KlasCement started as a bottom-up initiative to create a portal for sharing content among teachers. Currently, 70 000 teachers are members, and share 30 000 items, over half of which are available under a Creative Commons license. OERs on the site are downloaded 300 000 per month. de Four talked about the significance of having a bottom-up project, which is able to tap into the grassroots energy of teachers. At the same time he underlined the importance of the support of the Flemish government, which ultimately began supporting the project and is now a governmental initiative. de Four also mentioned the challenge faced by teachers when dealing with unclear copyright rules – especially the difference between which uses are allowed in the classroom, and which are allowed online. According to de Four, reforms that would clarify and standardize these rules for both online and offline...

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