Resolution on Copyright and Education

The 6th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, from 22nd to 26th July 2011:

Aware that international, regional and bilateral trade treaties, including the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, are creating new rules governing intellectual property rights, including copyright;

Noting that many of these agreements place new restrictions on the fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material, including material used for educational and research purposes;

Affirming that international copyright agreements and domestic law should be balanced between the rights of creators and the rights of users in order to support the development and diffusion of education, knowledge and research;

Acknowledging that greater restrictions on copyright exemptions for educational purposes will place more financial burdens on education systems and institutions, most of which already pay substantial licensing fees to provide students and teachers with access to essential learning materials;

Understanding that new information technologies have facilitated the exchange of knowledge and learning materials, but have also allowed for easier illegal copying and distribution;

Recognizing that copyright owners are increasingly placing “locks” on digital material in order to prevent the illegal copying and commercial distribution of their property;

Concerned, however, that the increasing use of these digital locks can also restrict fair use or fair dealing for educational and research purposes and other non-commercial purposes;

Aware that education systems in developing countries are disproportionately affected by these changes in international copyright rules, and that many developing countries are pressing for broader copyright exemptions for education under the agreements of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO);

Action Plan

Encourages EI to step up its work monitoring and intervening in international trade negotiations in order to ensure that education systems are not subordinated to commercial imperatives, and that intellectual property rights rules do not restrict the ability of teachers, researchers, and students to access material for educational purposes;

Calls upon EI to lobby WIPO and other relevant agencies and organizations in order to promote a balanced approach to international copyright rules that do not prevent the fair dealing or fair use of material for educational and research purposes;

Requests that EI advocate within WIPO and other relevant agencies and organizations for rules governing the use of digital locks that allow for circumvention for non-commercial fair use or fair dealing purposes, including education and research;  

Urges EI to actively support the WIPO development agenda and the demands by developing countries to defend and broaden international copyright exemptions for educational and research purposes;

Encourages affiliates to monitor domestic changes in copyright legislation, and to defend and enhance fair use or fair dealing for educational and research purposes.

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