Generally, content creators must consent to third party usage of their material. However, German copyright law (UrhG) states some very specific exceptions to this required consent. Our pamphlet “Copyright – creation and accessibility of educational material" gives a brief outline of these exceptions. Sec. 60 a and c are especially relevant for e-learning purposes.

Exceptions according to sec. 60 a and c

Sec. 60 a and c UrhG regulate non-commercial fair use for purposes of education and science. This privilege does not require consent and thus it is vital to respect the necessary qualifications in order to protect the original author’s interests. Material protected under copyright may under no circumstances be passed out to an unmanageable number of persons.

This means that according to sec. 60a UrhG protected material may be distributed on e-learning platforms exclusively for individual use within the boundaries provided by the guidelines. It is imperative that access to the platform (e.g. Moodle) be restricted (e.g. password protected).

Sec. 60 a UrhG

Sec. 60 a para 1 Nr 1 UrhG allows materials to be uploaded to an e-learning platform for use by teachers and students of that specific module. All material must be directly related to the course. Only participants of the course, i.e. one course, one lecture, one project group or one exam, may access the material. Thus, the material may only made accessible to students either enrolled in the course or attending the respective lecture as it is intended to aid in preparatory as well as follow-up work and further immersion into the corresponding course’s content.

Course access must be terminated once the materials are not required for following up on the course.

According to sec. 60 a para. 1 No. 2 UrhG, teachers and examiners within the same university may pass on materials among each other within the legal boundaries on protected platforms in order to facilitate course preparation. Teachers may use these materials according to No. 1 in their own course.

For the allowed extent of material usage, please consult our pamphlet regarding sec. 60 a UrhG.

Sec. 60 c UrhG

Sec. 60 c UrhG facilitates sharing material within a small research team. Researchers may thus provide scientific articles to each other. Here, too, it is imperative that access to the e-learning platform be restricted to the research team only. It is not required for researchers to be members of the same institution.

For the allowed extent of material usage, please consult our pamphlet regarding sec. 60 c UrhG.



*Citation of sources is mandatory.

*Attention: Merely linking to material that is already publicly accessible online (e.g. without restricted access) does not infringe upon the author’s copyright and is thus permissible.




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