On 11 April 2018, ETUCE held a joint high-level conference entitled “A better copyright for quality higher education and research in Europe and beyond”. EI/ETUCE held the conference in partnership with the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) and COMMUNIA (a network of Intellectual Property lawyers and advocates). The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) financially supported the event.

The conference had around 90 European and international participants from a broad range of backgrounds related to copyright in education, such as students, teachers, representatives from education trade unions, Ministries of Education, copyright lawyers, publishers and NGO’s. The conference was also able to reach beyond those in physical attendance as it was livestreamed via YouTube, allowing people across the world with an interest in copyright in education to engage with the conference.

Participants heard welcome messages and introductions from Rob Copeland (Chair of ETUCE’s Higher Education and Research Committee), Justyna Petsch (EUIPO Observatory), Susan Flocken (European Director, ETUCE), Daniel Wisniewski (General Secretary, EFEE), Aleksander Tarkowski (Director, COMMUNIA) and Haldis Holst (Deputy General Secretary, Education International). Justyna Petsch talked in particular about broadening the work of EUIPO by working with the education sector, which is why EUIPO has created the “IP in Education” network to bring together education stakeholders with intellectual property organisations. In the opening panel, ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken highlighted that copyright, intellectual and creative property rights are relevant topics not only in higher education and research but at all levels of education. She affirmed that education is a public good and a human right and pointed to the risk of privatisation and commercialisation in education when addressing copyright approaches.

Thomas Ewert (Legal and Policy Officer, DG CONNECT, European Commission) delivered the keynote speech explaining  the upcoming EU Directive on copyright and the impact it will have on copyright in the education sector.

In two panel sessions, participants discussed the diversity of copyright models in Europe and beyond and a balanced EU Copyright directive for quality higher education and research. The first panel included David Robinson (Canadian Association of University Teachers), who talked about the Canadian copyright model, and Karin Amossa (Swedish Association of University Teachers and Researchers), who spoke about the Swedish copyright model. Axel Voss (Member of the European Parliament, European People’s Party), who is the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the EU Copyright Directive, spoke about the latest developments on the copyright directive and took questions from the floor.  Exchanging views and experiences,  the conference participants developed recommendations for challenges they identified in three working groups on “information and awareness raising among teachers and students”, “higher education teachers and researchers as users of copyright works” and “teachers and researchers as creators of copyrighted works”.

Closing the conference, ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken said “We appreciated having this opportunity to discuss in this broad group of actors and stakeholders with European and international level colleagues, reflecting the international impact and context of copyright in education, with all its consequences, challenges and opportunities. ”.

To watch the livestream from the conference, click here.

To view pictures from the conference, click here.

To read the ETUCE Statement on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, click here.

To read the EI Resolution on Copyright, click here.

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