If you use material for e-learning purposes (for example text, music and pictures) that you have not produced yourself, you should be aware that this material as a rule will be protected by copyright. If you use such material without the consent of the creator, you may be infringing on copyright law.

Possible consequences of illegal use

A teacher or educational institution that infringes on the Copyright Act in connection with e-learning may be held liable by the creator (or his/her publishers). Such legal proceedings may have serious consequences.

  • As a rule the creator can demand that illegal use of his or her material be stopped. Dependent on the situation, the creator can also demand that illegal copies of his or her material be deleted.
  • As a rule the creator can claim a “reasonable fee” for the illegal use that has taken place. This fee will often correspond to the fee that the creator would have charged if permission had been requested. If the illegal use has also caused a loss for the creator, the creator will normally be able to claim indemnification for his loss.
  • Deliberate or accidental infringement on the copyright of others constitutes a criminal offence. In many cases the creator is even able to demand that the teacher and/or educational institution be sentenced, normally to a fine. The size of the fine depends among other things on the extent and seriousness of the infringement. In (very) serious cases the person who commits the infringement may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.

You can read more about the consequences of infringing on other people’s copyright in Ophavsret for begyndere – a beginner´s guide to copyright (available in Danish only), chapter 12.

See webcast of presentation at the symposium: Can you be sent to prison for teaching?

As a teacher or institution it is important to know that generally you cannot plead ignorance of copyright rules and regulations. When you use the material of others for e-learning purposes, you must make sure that its use is legal.

A copyright holder who becomes aware that his copyright is being violated will normally immediately contact the teacher or his/her institution demanding that the infringement be stopped. Of course it is important that as a teacher or institution you do not ignore any such representation. By responding immediately to such a representation and by entering into a dialogue with the copyright holder about the use of this work, you will normally be able to avoid a lawsuit.

Organisations under the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations and their members may seek advice on these matters from UBVA (the Committee for the Protection of Scientific Work.

Webcasting lessons or lectures without required consent

An educational institution may only record and webcast lessons or lectures with the consent of the teacher. In some cases the students will have to give their consent as well. The teacher or student who has to give his or her consent will normally be able to revoke his or her consent at any time.

Your can read more about your rights in connection with Webcast Teaching.

An educational institution that records and webcasts lessons or lectures without the required consent will normally be infringing the Copyright Act as well as the Act on Processing of Personal Data.

A teacher whose lesson or lecture is unlawfully recorded and webcast will as a rule be able to demand that the webcast not be published. Dependent on the circumstances, the teacher may also demand deletion of the webcast.

This also applies to students, to the extent that their consent is required.

Webcast of lessons or lectures without the required consent may, dependent on the circumstances, entitle the injured party to damages or compensation, just as the person responsible may incur criminal liability.

You can read more about the consequences of infringing on other people’s copyright in Ophavsret for begyndere – a beginner´s guide to copyright, chapter 12 (PDF).

You can read more about the rules and regulations of the Act on Processing of Personal Data Act at the website of the Danish Data Protection Agency

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