Press release

Amendment to Germany’s Copyright Act

German science organisations call for immediate removal of the time limitation on the Act to Align Copyright Law with the Current Demands of the Knowledge-based Society.

  • from
  • No. 26/2019
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild

Kontakt

Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing
Tel.: +49 228 833-144
Fax: +49 228 833-441
presse[at]avh.de

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection is currently preparing amendments to the Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Copyright Act) which were made necessary by EU Directive 2019/790 on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market which went into effect in June 2019. The ministry wants to implement these changes with two successive bills. On 15 January it published a discussion draft for the first of the two planned amendments.

“The science organisations in Germany welcome the intention of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection to permit making copies of copyrighted content for the purpose of text and data mining free of charge. However, the ministry’s proposals contain a fundamental drawback: The crucial removal of the time limitation on the Act to Align Copyright Law with the Current Demands of the Knowledge-based Society is missing,” according to Professor Dr Peter André Alt, President of the German Rectors’ Conference which is currently chair of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany.

In 2017, Germany’s parliament significantly increased legal certainty for education and science by passing the Act to Align Copyright Law with the Current Demands of the Knowledge-based Society which amended “limitations on copyright provisions”. The parliament however limited the period for which these provisions are valid until 28 February 2023. This sunsetting is inconsistent with the obligation arising from the EU Directive not to place a time limit on the validity of provisions of relevance to research and teaching contained in sections 60a ff of the Act on Copyright and Related Rights but rather to provide that they are permanent. In light of this, the Alliance calls for, as part of the currently planned first step to amend the law, striking section 142(2) of the Act on Copyright and Related Rights which placed a time limit on the validity of these provisions.

“Copyright law is of great importance for education and research. In everyday practice, it is important to be able to use information with legal certainty. The Act to Align Copyright Law with the Current Demands of the Knowledge-based Society from 2017 significantly increased this legal certainty. For this reason, the time limit should be removed,” stated Professor Alt.

One example of the legal clarity this will bring are the provisions pertaining to electronic reserve collections which are indispensable for universities. Section 60a of the Copyright Act allows the reproduction of 15 per cent of a copyrighted work for instruction and teaching purposes and, at the same time, ensures that the copyright holder is remunerated for this use.

The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany is a union of the most important science and research organisations in Germany. It regularly issues statements regarding important science policy issues. The German Rectors’ Conference is a member of the Alliance and is chair of the organisation for 2020. The Alliance’s other members are the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association, the Max Planck Society, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the German Council of Science and Humanities.

Media contact:
Susanne Schilden
Head of Communication | Press Speaker
German Rectors’ Conference
Ahrstraße 39
53175 Bonn
Tel.: 0228/887-152
schilden@hrk.de

(press release 1/2020)

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 57 Nobel Prize winners.

Previous Press Release The Philipp Schwartz Initiative: Another 36 threatened scientists find refuge in Germany
Next Press Release German Chancellor Fellowships now open to South Africa too