EI endorses Draft Treaty on Copyright Exceptions in Education

published 1 October 2018 updated 23 October 2018

At the recent Fifth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, Education International was one of the endorsing parties of a draft global treaty in support of better copyright legislation for education and research.

The proposed Treaty on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Educational and Research Activities(TERA) was presented during a panel session at the Congress in Washington DC, which took place from September 27-29. It was endorsed by organisations from civil society and Education International (EI).

Copyright exceptions vital

TERA sets out basic uses that should be allowed in the course of teaching, learning, and creating educational materials, such as including images in assignments, performing a theatre play in an educational context, and including short works and excerpts of longer works in  worksheets and other teaching resources. For the research sector the treaty will facilitate  fair use and access of works for research purposes such as making private copies, making quotations and allowing for text and data mining. This way, TERA will ensure that teachers, researchers and education support personnel (ESP) have equal rights to using and building upon creative works for teaching and learning.

Also, it will facilitate cross-border collaboration and exchange as teachers around the world will have similar rights. As a result, it will be easier for teachers and ESP to exchange educational materials, engage in online learning and teaching environments and exchange programmes.


According to the organisation Electronic Information for Libraries, a non-profit organisation which co-signed the draft treaty, TERA “is a timely intervention in the global debate on copyright law reform as it builds on proposals by member states and takes into account recent studies on education”. Signatories believe the treaty will help advance the normative agenda for education that will contribute to achieving the right to education, as well as Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education. The treaty will be presented to member states at the next World Intellectual Proporty Organisation congress.

David Edwards, EI General Secretary, said that EI was endorsing the proposed treaty on copyright exceptions “to make sure that quality education is open and accessible to all”.

EI’s fight for copyright exceptions

EI has campaigned on issues around copyright for many years. At its World Congress in 2011, it adopted a resolution on Copyright and Education that urges EI to actively support the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) development agenda and the demands by developing countries to defend and broaden international copyright exemptions for educational and research purposes. EI believes that the availability of textbooks and other materials for teaching and learning is a fundamental part of the right to education and copyright laws can create barriers or help implement this right. Further organisations interested endorsing TERA can do this here: https://form.jotform.com/pijip/endorse-TERA