Stance on the proposed amendment of the Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Urheberrechts-Wissensgesellschafts-Gesetz – UrhWissG)
To whomever it may concern,
the verdict of the federal court concerning the general agreement between the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the German collecting society, VG Wort last year, threatened the loss of e-learning platforms at German universities.
E-learning and digital access to academic literature is imperative for us students. The internationalisation and digitalisation of education has increased significantly throughout the past decades. Modern universities should be able to provide easy access to digital resources to students. This is the only way to maintain a high standard of education and research.
In consideration of these circumstances, the student parliament of the University of Mannheim in the name of all students of the University of Mannheim, supports the current amendment of the UrhWissG.
This proposed legislation makes the return from the new individual and lump-sum compensation for academic texts possible. The additional expense claims created by individual compensation, make individual compensation unfeasible, as the claims would radically exceed the financial capabilities of universities due to the large quantities of literature required. The claims would also create additional bureaucratic processes, which a single lecturer or assistant lecturer would not be able to cope with. This expectation is unreasonable.
Without the option of a simple lump-sum compensation, the available resources and offers on e-learning platforms cannot be guaranteed. From our student perspective, the reintroduction of a lump-sum compensation constitutes the core element of the newly drafted legislation.
We demand every decision maker with weight to retain this core element of the newly drafted legislation and so guarantee modern and progressive education at German universities.
Furthermore, we support the suggestion of the Federal Council of Germany (Bundesrat) and the German Rector’s Conference (HRK), to increase the allowed percentage of a work made available to the public for instructional or research purposes from 15% to the original 25%. Only at 25% is an effective utilisation of the works possible for research and educational purposes.
It is of course of interest to us students to ensure reasonable compensation for academic publications. Authors must be compensated appropriately for their work. However, this should not prohibit the use of their work on e-learning platforms.
Therefore, we insist all members of the Bundesrat support the maintenance of lump-sum compensation in the newly drafted legislation. Copyright regulations that do not adapt to changes and progress within the educational and research sectors can only damage the scientific standing of Germany and worsen the educational conditions of all students.
In the name of students at the University of Mannheim
The head of the Allgemeinen Studierendenausschusses
The chairmanship of the student council of the University of Mannheim
The presidium of the Student Parliament of the University of Mannheim