HRK Senate on copyright: Major step has been taken, yet challenges remain

9. June 2021

The Senate of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) has once again stressed the importance of reforming copyright law by removing the time limit from the regulations on research. It states that the removal of the time limit in particular will strengthen Germany in the long term as a research location. The Senate is very grateful to the parliamentarians involved for the shift towards improvements in copyright law that are tailored to academic needs during deliberations in the Bundestag.

HRK President Prof Dr Peter-André Alt: "Legal certainty and planning security has finally been provided for universities and the research community as a whole. Nevertheless, questions remain unanswered and the demands of the research community unfulfilled. The challenge of eliminating or adjusting problematic regulations still in place must be addressed by policymakers in the coming legislative period."

According to Alt, the usability of newspapers and magazines still needs to be regulated. He states that learners also need extensive access to sources beyond scholarly journals for their studies. In his opinion, the use restriction of 15 percent of a publication needs to be raised to at least 30 percent.

The amendment will completely remove the legally permitted uses for teaching and learning, as well as for scientific research. This and the removal of the time limit from the regulations for scientific research, as well as text and data mining, are fundamental for universities. The copyright amendment introduces a research clause. It enables researchers to access data from service providers, i. e. including from social media or upload platforms, which they need for their scientific research.