Legal Issues in Digital Teaching

May I make a multi-page article from a scientific journal available online to my students?



Professor Mustermann would like to make an article published in the journal “Der pädagogische Blick” available to his students in digital form as part of his course “External Vocational Training.”


Professor Mustermann can make the article available, e.g., scanned as a PDF file, to the students in his course via Moodle, as this is covered by the permissions of § 60a UrhG.

Legal Considerations

Resorting to the permissions of Section 60a UrhG

Within the framework of Section 60a UrhG , is possible for teachers to make up to 15% of a work as well as individual articles from specialist journals or scientific journals and other small-scale works available digitally to the students in their course within an access-restricted framework for the purpose of illustrating teaching. The central learning platform of the TU Darmstadt „Moodle “ is particularly suitable for this purpose. It does not matter whether the article was scanned or downloaded from the Internet (e.g., as a PDF).

If the work is made available as an E-book or E-journal via the ULB, we recommend linking to this offer.

Observe the provisions of § 60a UrhG

As of 01.03.2018, newspapers and general-interest magazines are excluded from the right of use to extract individual contributions without permission. The 15% rule applies here. Similarly, only one individual contribution may be taken from a specialist or academic journal at a time.

Depending on the didactic context, small works may be used up to 100% without permission. The limits for “small works” are: text max. 25 pages, sheet music 6 pages, films 5 minutes, music 5 minutes.

You are the author of the work

If you are the author of the work from which excerpts are provided and it has already been published by a publisher, the same legal conditions apply as described above. Also check whether it is possible to exercise the right to a second publication.

What alternatives are there if use under Section 60a UrhG is not possible?

Check whether the work to be made available has been published as Open Access

This could be the case, for example, due to the second publication right that has been in force since 2014. Due to the growing importance of open access publications, the chances of free access to scientific works are increasing.

Resort to non-digital alternatives

On the one hand, this can be the establishment of a semester collection at the ULB or the use of the reference to the loan.

Legally Verifed

The content of this page has been reviewed by Jan Hansen, Ass. jur.

Further Legal Issues