In many countries there are exceptions to copyright law that allow those in education to use copyrighted material to further their studies.
Those exceptions often have limits but copying for research, comment and reporting purposes are generally allowed while teachers are able to make multiple copies of content to hand out to their students.
Following the tabling of a new intellectual property law in Spain, last December the Department of Education sent out a circular reminding schools that the showing of audiovisual content outside strict “fair use” parameters is completely banned.
While airing short clips should be ok, the government had become concerned that schools stepping over the mark could be forced to obtain prior authorization to show content or might even find themselves being sued. That resulted in the decision-making body in the autonomous region of Galicia striking a private licensing deal with rightsholders from the movie industry.
The letter revealed that MPLC was willing to license each student for the price of 1.25 euros per year. While that doesn’t sound much in isolation, there are 260,000 students in the region making a grand total of 325,000 euros ($350,000) to be sent to MPLC’s movie and TV show company members.
The CIG-Ensino union has reacted furiously to the news and is now calling for local authorities to prohibit the collection of any monies and ensure that audiovisual resources for use as teaching and learning aids remain free.
“[Schools and teachers] should not to pay any tax for doing their job and should be able to continue using all kinds of tools that are needed to do their jobs as effectively as possible,” the union said.
“It is incomprehensible to try to limit the task of educating exclusively to the use of the textbooks and reducing the use of resources such as film, music, documentaries in classrooms.”
MPLC has not yet commented on the news.