Coalition for Action
“Copyright for Education and Research”

Aktionsbündnis „Urheberrecht für Bildung und Wissenschaft“

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The Göttingen Declaration on
Copyright for Education and Research
of 5 July 2004

Göttingen Declaration for printout: [PDF-file] [RTF-file] [DOC-file]

    Preliminary Remarks

The answer to the question 'How accessible are knowledge and information?' will determine the opportunities for education and development open to every citizen in the information society and the opportunities future generations will have to build on existing knowledge. The legal provisions set out in German copyright law will determine whether open, networked communications structures will continue to develop in our society in the long term. They will also affect the quality of our education system, the inventiveness of the sciences and the innovative capacity of trade and industry. In a global, competitive environment, they play a vital role in promoting social, cultural and economic development and hence in securing the future of our society.

With regard to the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC in Germany, the legislature has so far mainly addressed the concerns of rightholders regarding the commercial use of digital media and networks as additional distribution channels. The prime concern here has been to minimise the risks related to private copying rather than to encourage exploiting the opportunities afforded by the new technical media to the public at large. The latter point is particularly important for the fields of education and science, because it is here that the information society contains new potential for imparting knowledge and promoting co-operation between scientists. The way these new opportunities are used is a decisive competitive factor on the global stage.

We, the undersigned, undertake to ensure that the full potential of the digital media and communications systems remain open for use by the general public and, in particular, by science, and that these media and systems are not subject to restrictions which primarily serve the commercialisation of information by the private sector.

In a digitised and networked information society, access to global information for the purposes of education and science must be guaranteed at all times from any place.


Education and research must be allowed unrestricted use of the new ways of disseminating and acquiring knowledge and information. However, the limitations in German copyright law (particularly sections 52a and 53) no longer set out the privileges needed by education and science in a positive, clearly understandable and practicable way. Instead, these privileges are subject to considerable restrictions which are likely to create uncertainly or even criminalise those working in education and science, instead of offering the legal certainty they require to perform work for the benefit of the general public.

Schools, universities and colleges have developed and successfully tested, in countless projects, the use of new digital, networked media for disseminating knowledge (eLearning) and for communicating and co-operating with others. A considerable amount of effort has gone into this, supported by funds from federal and state levels. In many schools, universities and colleges, the use of network-based learning environments now accounts for a significant part of regular curricular activities, and has brought about a lasting improvement in the quality of learning and teaching. The various forms of eLearning also hold enormous potential for vocational qualification programmes and further training schemes. Hence, in the information society, it is extremely important for teaching staff that their academic freedoms and access to information are not restricted unreasonably, and that both staff and students enjoy the legal protection necessary for them to exploit and develop eLearning to the full in future.

Science and research use and develop the latest knowledge in a continuous communicative process that involves scientists working in small local teams as well as their exchanging information on a worldwide basis. These flows of information and communication must not be obstructed by restrictive provisions in the copyright law. Free access to information and its continued protection, as well as free access to knowledge and our cultural heritage must be encouraged and maintained. There must be an unhindered exchange of knowledge if science is to continue making a productive contribution to society. These are core issues for science and its development.

The legally prescribed duty of public information institutions, such as libraries, multimedia libraries and archives, to supply society with information must be strengthened and supported so that they can work more efficiently. This means, above all, sustainable long-term archiving programs and the provision of access to the collections of these institutions using modern digital communications and information systems. Only in this way can the sustainable preservation of our cultural heritage be ensured and global access guaranteed.

Free access to information and knowledge does not mean that there should be no remuneration. Copyright law should establish fair and balanced terms and conditions to ensure remuneration for the use of protected works and unrestricted access for the purposes of education and science. Technological protection measures which restrict access to information in order to maximise commercial profits, which impose far-reaching restrictions that impinge upon the private sphere and make secure, long-term archiving impossible are, therefore, the wrong approach. They hinder the free development of education and science and, consequently, the economic development of our society, too. The appropriate remuneration of rightholders through a system of flat-rate payments made through collecting societies has a long tradition Germany. This system has worked well for several decades now. Similar systems of collective compensation can also be applied to Internet usage and must be preferred to all restrictions that rely on technological protection measures.

With these goals, we consider that we are in agreement with

  • the German government and its resolutions on a 'Master Plan for the Information Society' (3 December 2003) and the government policy statement issued by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on 25 March 2004,

  • the declaration of principles and the action programme of the UN World Summit on the Information Society also signed by the German government (Geneva, 12 December 2003), and

  • German President Horst Köhler and his warning: 'In my opinion, Germany is proceeding too slowly along the road to the science society. Germany must become a country of ideas!' (23 May 2004)
April 27th 2017

Die Zeit drängt: Bildung und Wissenschaft brauchen eine Reform des Urheberrechts!
Wir unterstützen weiter den vom Bundeskabinett beschlossenen Gesetzentwurf für eine Reform des Urheberrechts, jedoch bedauern wir die Verschlechterungen des Regierungsentwurfs im Vergleich zum Referentenentwurf.
(Press Release)

February 14th 2017 fake-news

We make you aware that on the website www.publikationsfreiheit.de is being tried, to manipulate the public and in particular the authors in education and science with incorrect claims in favor of publishers' interests.
(Press Release).

January 24th 2017

The way has not yet come to an end — but the direction is right
The Coalition for Action sees in the draft bill for a "Copyright Law Knowledge Society Act — UrhWissG" from the ministry for justice an important step in the direction of an education and science-friendly copyright law.
(Press Release)

December 21st 2016 Paragraphenzeichen

The road to the One General Exception for Education and Research (ABWS) should now be free now & mdash; Go ahead, Minister Maas!
(Press Release).

December 15th 2016

KMK, VG Wort and HRK must finally create clarity
The joint press release of KMK, VG Wort and HRK from 9 December 2016 is a source of uncertainty and confusion in the universities. What should actually be done with the electronic semester apprentices from 1 January 2017? Further is currently deleted or placed texts invisible. There is a need for action!
(Press Release)

December 12th 2016 Paragraphenzeichen

And they seem to still be able to move - KMK and VG-Wort. And the university rector conference (HRK) is now on board. However, the transitional regulation from the beginning of 2017 is still unclear. Debt to the present obvious disaster around the framework contract to § 52a UrhG is ultimately the intolerable delay tactics of the policy.
(Press Release).

November 23rd 2016

Folder with our recommendations for dealing with the framework contract between KMK and VG-Wort to § 52a UrhG has been published.
(Press Release)

November 16th 2016 letter to BMJV

Offener Brief an den Bundesminister der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz Heiko Maas: „Bitte lassen Sie den Schleier von diesem verdeckten Objekt [dem Entwurf einer Bildungs- und Wissenschaftsschranke im Urheberrecht] wegreißen! Der Öffentlichkeit ist das Spiel mit Andeutungen nicht länger zuzumuten.“

November 7th 2016

No panic — the § 52a framework contract does not have to be the last word for remuneration in science copyright law
(Press Release)

October 11th 2016

The nonsense irritating the education and science simply goes on — on the framework contract for the remuneration of claims for uses according to § 52a UrhG in education and research
(Press Release).

October 4th 2016

Comment of the Coalition for Action for a proposal from the EU Commission (COM(2016) 593 final) published on September 14, 2016 on “Copyright in the Digital Single Market”

September 27th 2016

The proposal of the European Commission from September 14, 2016 for a new Copyright Directive is of no help to a science-friendly copyright.
(Press Release).

October 15 and 16, 2015

During our Annual Meeting in Berlin, the latest developments in European and in Germany Copyright law were discussed. A new steering group of the Coalition was elected.
The Annual Meeting in 2016 is scheduled to be in Berlin on November 10 and 11, 2016.
A Summary of the Presentations and Discussion is available.

September 18th 2015 publication publication publication
Folders on published.
June 17th 2015

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has in its meeting on June 16, 2015 voted on the so-called “Reda Report” about the evaluation of a European copyright. It was agreed, among others, the estimation of the author, that „…libraries make an indispensable contribution to knowledge distribution and are intended to be authorized inter alia to the right of borrowing information in its digital format…“ In parallel, Reda stresses that authors should be granted an appropriate reward for this digital lending. (more)

May 8th 2015

The requirement to set up a comprehensive exception to the rights of education and science in copyright law, initiated by the Coalition for Action and by ENCES, is now arrived at the vice president, Digital Single Market of the EU Commission, Andrus Ansip, through a letter of C4C. (letter)

May 6th2015

Today the EU presented its vision for ‚A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe‘. Section 2.4. touches upon copyright issues for education and science, specifically on text and data mining. Our Coalition will follow the ongoing debate about the EU copyright reform and will promote the need for a comprehensive exception in favour of education and science. (more)

older news is available from our archive
publication Folder with our recommendations for dealing with the framework contract between KMK and VG-Wort to § 52a UrhG
Version: 22 November 2016
Format: A4 duplex

on Folder on our Current Demands
Version: August 2015

on Folder on a Comprehensive Copyright Clause in Support of Education and Science
Version: August 2015

on Folder on the Right for a Second Publication for Scientific Articles
Version: July 2015

publication Information als Vitamin für Innovation: Schanken oder Lizenzen für Forschung und Lehre?
Compilation for the annual meeting on October 10, 2013

publication Breite Unterstützung für eine umfassende Verbesserung des Urheberrechts für Bildung und Wissenschaft
Evaluation of a survey and policy implications, September / October 2011

Relevant Links
facebook facebook page of the Coalition

IUWIS project is developing a social networking for the topic of copyright in education and research.