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FAQs on copyright for teachers

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on copyright for teachers helps teachers and students in the EU to find information on using copyright protected content in the context of education and training, particularly online. It also informs teachers and students on the opportunities copyright protection can have for them as potential creators of works within the context of education.

This initiative follows in the footsteps of the successful FAQs on copyright for consumers, which aim to help EU consumers learn more about what is legal and what is not when using copyright protected content – such as music or film – on the internet.

15 questions from consumers on copyright for all EU Member States

Answers to the FAQs are given for all EU Member States. They are available in English and/or at least one official language of each respective Member State.

Teachers’ questions on copyright

What materials can you use? What content can you share with your students? Or play in class? If you create something at school, can you enjoy copyright protection?

Click on a country in the map or select a country from the list to show the answers for the country:

 

Showing the answers for the country: Spain Read in: Español | English .

 

Copyright in education in your country: main rules, exceptions and national organisation(s) which can answer your questions

1. a. Can teachers take photocopies or scan pages from books or newspapers for their students?

1. b. If yes, under which conditions can teachers use them?

2. a. Under which conditions can teachers display movies in class or at school in general?

2. b. Does it matter if the movie is a DVD personally owned by the teacher or if the movie is a recording of a television broadcast?

3. a. Can students perform a musical work or perform a theatrical play in class?

3. b. Can they do it at a school concert open to a wider audience (such as parents, other students and teaching staff)?

4. a. Can music that is available for free for example on YouTube, Soundcloud or Spotify, be used in class, including for background music?

4. b. What if the music is played from a paid subscription?

5. A teacher wants to stream a cinematographic work (e.g. a movie, documentary) online to show in class using his/her own paid streaming account or another video on demand (VoD) platform. Is that legal?

6. Under which conditions can teachers or students use copyrighted material (such as images, articles, photos) from the internet for educational purposes, such as in an assignment, presentation or in a digital learning environment?

7. How can teachers share digital copies of copyright protected educational material to their students (e.g. via the school’s intranet, by email, chatroom, cloud service?) and in what form (e.g. links, attachment)?

8. How do I know if a teaching material is offered legally or illegally online?

9. How can a teacher or student identify the authors and rights holders of works such as photos and illustrations they would like to use in an educational context?

10. a. Do educational establishments have licences that allow their teachers and students to use copyright protected material?

10. b. If yes, which educational uses are they covering and where can teachers and students find information about such licensing schemes?

11. Can a teacher record his/her classes and use the recording to provide distance learning to other students not necessarily from the teacher’s school establishment?

12. Can a teacher create new educational content by quoting pre-existing works, adapting/modifying them, or making compilations for educational purposes?

13. Can a teacher translate a short part of a book or translate and adapt lyrics of existing songs for use in class?

14. a. If a teacher creates an educational material (such as a publication, or a lecture handout), is this material granted copyright protection?

14. b. Does the teacher enjoy copyright protection over the material created in the course of employment, allowing him/her to further use and share it?

15. a. If a student creates an artistic work (e.g. drawing, text, presentation, photo, videoclip) during the course of studies, will it be copyright-protected?

15. b. If yes, will a student enjoy copyright protection over that work and what are the implications? Can, for instance, a teacher/school share it on the school’s intranet or webpage?

 

Copyright in education in your country: main rules, exceptions and national organisation(s) which can answer your questions

Teachers and students as creators of copyright protected works:

a) In your country, where can you find general information on copyright?

https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/cultura/propiedadintelectual/la-propiedad-intelectual/preguntas-mas-frecuentes/introduccion.html

Legal basis: Revised text of the Intellectual Property Law, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 1/1996 of 12 April 1996 (TRLPI)
https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/cultura/propiedadintelectual/la-propiedad-intelectual/preguntas-mas-frecuentes/introduccion.html

 

Teachers and students as users of copyright protected works:

b) In your country, which exceptions can apply to teaching activities?

Article 32(1) and (3) Quotations and reviews and illustrations for educational or scientific research purposes

Article 37. Reproduction, lending and consultation of works by means of specialised terminals in certain establishments Article 37bis. Orphan works

Legal basis: TRLPI

c) In your country, which organisation would be the best placed to answer questions on copyright for teachers and students?

Subdirectorate-General for Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Culture and Sport

CEDRO (Spanish Reprographic Rights Centre) www.cedro.org 

Legal basis: Article 4(1)(f) of Royal Decree 509/2020 of 5 May 2020 developing the basic organic structure of the Ministry of Culture and Sport; Article 32(3), (4) and (5) TRLPI.

 

1. a. Can teachers take photocopies or scan pages from books or newspapers for their students?

Yes.

Legal basis: Art. 32(4) TRLPI

 

1. b. If yes, under which conditions can teachers use them?

Teaching staff in formal education provided in institutions integrated into the Spanish education system, or staff from universities and public research bodies, acting in their capacity as scientific researchers.

Reproduction and distribution of small fragments of works and isolated photographic or visual artworks, with no commercial purpose and where the following conditions apply:

  • a) Illustration purposes in face-to-face or distance-learning activities, or for scientific research purposes, and to the extent justified by the non-commercial aim in question.
  • b) Works already disclosed.
  • c) They are not textbooks, university handbooks or similar publications, unless: The copies are distributed exclusively amongst the research staff collaborating on a specific research project and to the extent necessary for that project.
  • d) The author’s name and source are included, unless this is impossible.

A small fragment means an extract or a quantitatively insignificant part of the whole work.

Legal basis: Art. 32(3) TRLPI

Nor will acts of partial reproduction, distribution and communication to the public of works or printed publications require authorisation by the author/publisher provided that the following conditions also apply:

  • They are limited to a chapter of a book, an article of a magazine or equivalent of a similar publication, or amount to 10 % of the total work.
  • They are for educational or scientific research purposes.
  • They are carried out in universities or public research centres by the staff, using their own means and resources.

Or, alternatively, one of the following conditions:

  • 1.º That the work is distributed exclusively to students and teaching staff or researchers from the same establishment in which it is reproduced.
  • 2.º That only students and teaching staff or researchers in the centre in which the work is partially reproduced may have access to it through the forms of communication to the public authorised in this section, with it being made available through closed internal networks accessed only by those recipients or in the framework of a distance-learning programme offered by that educational establishment.

The foregoing does not apply to musical scores, single-use works, compilations or groupings of isolated figurative or visual artworks. In such cases, there is a right to fair remuneration for authors and publishers.

Apart from those limitations, and beyond the uses authorised by them, CMOs grant licences that permit wider uses.

Legal basis: Art. 32(4) TRLPI; Art. 32 (5) TRLPI

 

2. a. Under which conditions can teachers display movies in class or at school in general?

Except for small fragments, work may be reproduced in its entirety only with the authorisation of the copyright holder, and artists and performers must always be paid fair remuneration through the corresponding management body for the public communication of audiovisual recordings

Legal basis: Art. 108(5) and (6) TRLPI

 

2. b. Does it matter if the movie is a DVD personally owned by the teacher or if the movie is a recording of a television broadcast?

In either case and as mentioned above, except for small fragments, the copyright holder’s authorisation must be obtained, and artists and performers must be paid fair remuneration.

Legal basis: Art. 108(5) and (6) TRLPI

 

3. a. Can students perform a musical work or perform a theatrical play in class?

Yes, provided that they have the relevant authorisations and licences, or the work is in the public domain.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 20(2)(a); Art. 41 TRLPI

 

3. b. Can they do it at a school concert open to a wider audience (such as parents, other students and teaching staff)?

Yes, from an IP perspective, provided that they have the corresponding authorisations and licences, or the work is in the public domain.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 20(2)(a); Art. 41 TRLPI

 

4. a. Can music that is available for free for example on YouTube, Soundcloud or Spotify, be used in class, including for background music?

Except for small fragments, work may be reproduced in its entirety only with the authorisation of the copyright holder, and artists and performers must always be paid fair remuneration through the corresponding management body for the public communication of audiovisual recordings.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 20; Art. 32(3); Art. 108(4) and (6) TRLPI

 

4. b. What if the music is played from a paid subscription?

The paid subscription must include the possibility to use the audiovisual work for the purposes of public communication, and the right to fair remuneration for such use for the copyright holders, which must be paid through the relevant management body.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 20; Art. 32(3); Art. 108(4

 

5. A teacher wants to stream a cinematographic work (e.g. a movie, documentary) online to show in class using his/her own paid streaming account or another video on demand (VoD) platform. Is that legal?

No, except for small fragments. The work may be reproduced in its entirety only with the authorisation of the copyright holder, and artists and performers must always be paid fair remuneration through the corresponding management body for the public communication of audiovisual recordings.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 20; Art. 32(3); Art. 108(4) TRLPI

 

6. Under which conditions can teachers or students use copyrighted material (such as images, articles, photos) from the internet for educational purposes, such as in an assignment, presentation or in a digital learning environment?

  1. If they have a licence or authorisation from the owner or the management organisation to use it, or if the work is in the public domain.
  2. They may include fragments of other works of a written, audio or audiovisual nature, or isolated photographic or visual artworks, in works of their own. Provided that:
    - the works have already been disclosed;
    - they are used for quotations, analysis, comments or critical judgements;
    - they are used for teaching or research purposes;
    - the source and the author’s name are indicated.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 32(1) TRLPI

 

7. How can teachers share digital copies of copyright protected educational material to their students (e.g. via the school’s intranet, by email, chatroom, cloud service?) and in what form (e.g. links, attachment)?

1 - If the copyright holder or relevant management organisation has granted them a licence or authorisation to communicate the work to the public and make it available to students.

2 - Teaching staff in formal education provided in institutions integrated in the Spanish education system, or staff from universities and public research bodies, acting in their capacity as scientific researchers.

Communication to the public of small fragments of works and isolated photographic or visual artworks, with no commercial purpose and where the following conditions also apply:

  • a) for illustration purposes for face-to-face or distance-learning activities, or for scientific research purposes, and to the extent justified by the non-commercial aim in question.
  • b) works that have already been disclosed.
  • c) they are not textbooks, university handbooks or similar publications, unless:
    the copies are distributed exclusively amongst the research staff collaborating on a specific research project and to the extent necessary for that project;
  • d) the author’s name and the source are included, unless this is impossible.

A small fragment means an extract or a quantitatively insignificant part of the whole work.

Legal basis: 2-Art. 32(3) TRLPI

3 - The following conditions must also apply:

  • they are limited to a chapter of a book, an article of a magazine or equivalent of a similar publication, or amount to 10 % of the total work;
  • they are for educational or scientific research purposes;
  • they are carried out in universities or public research centres by the staff, using their own means and resources.

Or, alternatively, one of the following conditions:

  • 1.º the work is distributed exclusively to students and teaching staff or researchers from the same establishment in which it is reproduced;
  • 2.º only students and teaching staff or researchers in the centre in which the work is partially reproduced may have access to it, through communications to the public authorised in this section, with it being made available through closed internal networks accessed only by those recipients or in the framework of a distance-learning programme offered by that educational establishment.

The foregoing does not apply to musical scores, single-use works, compilations or groupings of isolated figurative or visual artworks. In such cases, there is a right to fair remuneration for authors and publishers.

4 - Link to pages where the work is legally available under any type of licence, for specific uses permitted by the owner.

Legal basis: 3-Art.32.4 y 32. 5 del TRLPI

 

8. How do I know if a teaching material is offered legally or illegally online?

There is no legal basis. In general, the teaching material available should include an explicit indication of the uses permitted by the copyright holder, usually through a Creative Commons-type licence.

Works found on the pages of legal institutions that claim to be the owners of the copyright in the works must list the uses permitted by third parties. The latter must obtain the consent of the copyright holder(s) for any act of exploitation.

There are indications (for example, a very recent new editorial change) that should prompt us to think about whether access is legal or not.
If in doubt, you should contact the relevant collective management organisation.

 

9. How can a teacher or student identify the authors and rights holders of works such as photos and illustrations they would like to use in an educational context?

Through the collective management organisations of intellectual property rights.

In Spain, the Ministry of Culture and Sport has so far authorised nine management organisations, representing the following copyright holders:

  • Authors: SGAE (General Society of Authors and Publishers), CEDRO (Spanish Reprographic Rights Centre), VEGAP (Management Body for Visual Artists), DAMA (Audiovisual Media Copyright), SEDA (Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers). Specifically, the CEDRO management organisation offers the automatic reporting service SAR, which allows the work and author to be identified purely from a very short fragment of the text or notes (sheet music). Soon, in collaboration with VEGAP, it will also allow images to be identified.
  • Performing artists: AIE (Performing Artistsʼ Management Society of Spain, AISGE (Performing Artistsʼ Management Society).
  • Producers: AGEDI (Intellectual Rights Management Association), EGEDA (Audiovisual Producers Rights Management Entity).

 

10. a. Do educational establishments have licences that allow their teachers and students to use copyright protected material?

Yes

 

10. b. If yes, which educational uses are they covering and where can teachers and students find information about such licensing schemes?

Licences range from annual licences to pay-per-use licences. More information at https://www.cedro.org/usuarios/licencias-de-derechos-de-autor/licencia-anual/ensenanza

 

11. Can a teacher record his/her classes and use the recording to provide distance learning to other students not necessarily from the teacher’s school establishment?

Regardless of whether or not a teacherʼs class is considered a work that can be protected by intellectual property and, therefore, is in principle owned by the author, the uses that may be made of a recording of it will depend on the teacherʼs employment, contractual or statutory relationship with the educational establishment and the exclusivity regime to which they are linked.

Considerations on the possibility of making a public communication via the internet will depend on this link between employee and employer.

 

12. Can a teacher create new educational content by quoting pre-existing works, adapting/modifying them, or making compilations for educational purposes?

1- Yes, if there is a licence or authorisation to modify the pre-existing work and exploit the derivative work.

2- In a person’s own work they can include fragments of others’ works of a written, audio or audiovisual nature, and of isolated photographic or visual artworks, with no commercial purpose and under the following concurrent conditions:

  • a) for illustration purposes for face-to-face or distance-learning activities, or for scientific research purposes, and to the extent justified by the non-commercial aim in question;
  • b) works already disclosed:
  • c) they are not textbooks, university handbooks or similar publications, unless:
    the copies are distributed exclusively amongst the research staff collaborating on a specific research project and to the extent necessary for that project;
  • d) the author’s name and the source are included, unless this is impossible.

A small fragment means an extract or a quantitatively insignificant part of the whole work.

What the teacher cannot do without the authorisation of the owners of the works used is to make a compilation from fragments of works of others.

Legal basis: 1 - Art. 21 TRLPI: 2 -Art. 32(3) TRLPI

 

13. Can a teacher translate a short part of a book or translate and adapt lyrics of existing songs for use in class?

Yes, if there is a licence or authorisation to modify the pre-existing work and exploit the derivative work.

Legal basis: Art. 21 TRLPI

 

14. a. If a teacher creates an educational material (such as a publication, or a lecture handout), is this material granted copyright protection?

The natural person who creates a work is considered the author. The mere fact of creation gives the author intellectual property rights in the work and the protection derived therefrom, without the need for the author to meet any requirement as regards their capacity and without the need for any formal requirement, such as registration in the intellectual property register.

In addition, teachers, like any other person, can participate in a collective work. In this case, the rights are vested in the person who discloses the work, usually the publisher.

Legal basis: Art. 1 TRLPI; Art. 5(1) TRLPI; Art. 8 TRLPI 

 

14. b. Does the teacher enjoy copyright protection over the material created in the course of employment, allowing him/her to further use and share it?

However, depending on their employment relationship and on what may have been agreed by contract, the rights to exploit the work created within the scope of that employment relationship and to the extent necessary for the performance of the employerʼs usual activity may have been assigned or may be understood to have been assigned tacitly to the employer.

Legal basis: Art. 51 TRLPI

 

15. a. If a student creates an artistic work (e.g. drawing, text, presentation, photo, videoclip) during the course of studies, will it be copyright-protected?

Yes, as with any type of author, it is the fact of creation that ascribes intellectual property to the work and the protection derived therefrom.

Legal basis: Art. 5(1) TRLPI

 

15. b. If yes, will a student enjoy copyright protection over that work and what are the implications? Can, for instance, a teacher/school share it on the school’s intranet or webpage?

In order to exercise any exploitation rights, the teacher/educational institution must obtain the prior consent and authorisation of the copyright holder or management organisation, as applicable. Where the owner is under 18 years old, or between 16 and 18 years old and still lives with their parents or guardians, the latter must give their authorisation.

Legal basis: Art. 17 TRLPI; Art. 44 TRLPI

 

Disclaimer

The answers to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) were finalised on the date indicated as the status date on the website. Gathering up-to-date information from 27 Member States is an extensive exercise. While the EUIPO tries to keep the information up-to-date, new case-law or legislative reforms may impact the content of the FAQs. It means for instance that the following answers which rely on the current legislation in force in Member States, may not take into account new legislation transposing the Digital Single Market Copyright Directive (2019/790) (the Copyright Directive). Neither the EUIPO nor any person acting on behalf of the EUIPO is responsible for the use which might be made of the FAQs.

 

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