“As teachers look to preparing lessons for the new academic year and librarians try to manage access to library collections, a reliance on temporary fixes and the goodwill of individual publishers is raising questions about the real resilience of the legal framework in delivering for education and science globally, and the need to explore new approaches, especially for times of crisis.
For example, in the UK, Research Libraries UK coordinated an open letter to the Secretaries of State for Education and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport calling for copyright rules to be relaxed to enable remote learning and research during the COVID-19 crisis.
In Europe, LIBER, the Association of Research Libraries in Europe, called on the European Commission and member states to issue urgent guidance to ensure that researchers, educational establishments and libraries are able to fulfil their responsibilities without fear of litigation, stating the need for a public interest defence in times of medical, environmental or economic crisis, such as COVID-19.
COMMUNIA put forward the case that basic rights such as freedom of information and the right to science and education, enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, should be capable of being applied as a break on exclusive copyrights in exceptional situations.
In the US, library copyright specialists reaffirmed the role of fair use in supporting remote teaching and research in the wake of the COVID-19.
Also in the US, the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library (NEL), launched at the start of the pandemic to provide books to support emergency remote teaching, is being sued for mass copyright infringement by four commercial publishers….”