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 educational uses of copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owners 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 read a poem in class, in others it is not. Where in some countries educators can show a YouTube video in class, in others 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 across borders. Since copyright rules are not the same in the EU countries, educators can not easily share material.