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How the new ICLA Higher Education Licence supports online learning

18 August 2021

The pandemic has forced us all to change and adapt to the demands of digital teaching & learning much more quickly than would otherwise have been the case. Though nobody doubts online learning was on its way as a major component of higher education, we have all had to embrace this in the here and now, learn new skills and change our ways of working.

Changes in Ireland’s copyright law, and in ICLA’s licensing that is driven by that, could not have been more timely. In 2019, the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act substituted a new section 57 – which relates to licensable educational copyright exceptions – for what had appeared in the 2002 Act. Key changes that have then been incorporated in ICLA’s educational licensing schemes include:

  • A much broader definition of ‘education’ to mean ‘instruction, lectures, study, research, teaching or training either in an educational establishment or by any person acting under the authority of an educational establishment, and includes all activities necessary or expedient or ancillary to such a programme’, thus including teaching from home and learning at home.
  • A much broader definition of ‘educational establishment’ to include all educational providers, not just those that are state funded.
  • The making of copies ‘for the sole purpose of illustration for education [with its broader definition], teaching or scientific research’.
  • The ability for students to ‘receive copies by telecommunication’ and store a copy to use ‘at a more convenient time’.
  • The ability to ‘make a copy or communication of a work that is available through the internet’ (with sufficient acknowledgement).

The copyright holders that ICLA represents had already voluntarily mandated many of these changes, and more, allowing ICLA’s pre-2020 Higher Education Licence to have many enhancements over and above what was allowed by law:

  • A copying limit of 10% of a book per course of study. The Copyright Act did and does allow just 5% per institution in any calendar year.
  • One article from a serial publication per course of study (rather than per institution in any calendar year).
  • The disembedding of illustrations from a book, serial publication or digital publication to be copied separately.
  • Distance learning.
  • Digital copying and distribution of extracts from print and digital copyright works on an opt-in basis.

Now, with the 2019 Act, the Higher Education Licence additionally:

  • No longer requires licensees to check what digital copyright works are included in the licence, but only what is excluded.
  • Applies the same, greatly simplified rules relating to extent and uses to all copyright works, whether digital or print.
  • Applies those same simplified rules to all HEI staff and students wherever they may be located at the time of teaching or learning.
  • Works alongside publishers’ licensing schemes and ‘open access’ publishing to enable complete confidence in using copyright material lawfully.

We are hopeful the simpler rules will make application of the Higher Education Licence easier, but please contact us with any specific queries about its use.