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Glossary on legal issues in e-Learning

Academic research (§ 60c UrhG)

Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Copyright Act) § 60c Academic Research

(1) For the purpose of non-commercial academic research, up to 15 percent of a work may be reproduced, distributed and made publicly available

1. for a defined group of persons for their own academic research, and
2. for individual third parties, insofar as this serves to verify the quality of academic research.

(2) Up to 75 percent of a work may be reproduced for the purpose of the author's own academic research.
(3) Illustrations, individual contributions from the same journal or scientific journal, other works of minor scope and out-of-print works may be used in their entirety in deviation from paragraphs 1 and 2.
(4) It is not permitted under paragraphs 1 to 3 to record a work on image or sound carriers during public lectures, performances or presentations of a work and to make it publicly accessible at a later date.

(Linked page in German.) 


An author is any natural person who has created a work by personal intellectual achievement. If several persons create a work together, e.g. write a joint publication, they are so-called co-authors. (Linked page in German.) 

Assistive technologies

The term assistive (or assisting) technologies is a collective term for technical aids that are intended to support people with disabilities in their daily lives. Especially when different software technologies are involved, complex requirements can often arise due to their diversity and the desire to integrate and interact with each other. (Linked page in German.) 

Barrier Definition

A definition of content and limitations in the sense of Art. 14 para. 1 sentence 2 of the German Constitution is any legal regulation of property that is not expropriation. These are general and abstractly defined obligations which are imposed on the owner by legal norms. (Linked page in German.) 


CC-BY is the abbreviation of the six existing Creative Commons license types. The type CC-BY includes the Attribution 4.0 International.


Several authors who have jointly created a work without having their shares exploited separately (Section 8 UrhG). The co-authors are entitled to the copyright as a community. In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, the proceeds from the use of the work shall accrue to the co-authors according to the extent of their participation. The copyright expires 70 years after the death of the longest living co-author (§ 65 UrhG). If several authors have combined their works for joint exploitation, each of them may require the other's consent to the publication, exploitation and modification of the combined works if the consent can be reasonably expected of the other in good faith (Section 9 UrhG). (Linked page in German.) 

Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Copyright Act) § 8 Co-authors.

(1) If several have jointly created a work without their shares being separately exploitable, they shall be co-authors of the work.
(2) The right to publish and exploit the work shall be vested in the co-authors in its entirety; changes to the work shall be permitted only with the consent of the co-authors. However, a co-author may not refuse his or her consent to publication, exploitation or modification contrary to good faith. Each co-author is entitled to assert claims arising from infringements of the joint copyright; however, he may only demand performance to all co-authors.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed between the co-authors, the proceeds from the use of the work shall be due to the co-authors according to the extent of their participation in the creation of the work.
(4) A co-author may waive his share of the exploitation rights (Section 15). The waiver must be declared to the other co-authors. The declaration increases the share for the other co-authors.

Collecting Society

A collecting society is a body which administers copyrights or other related rights on behalf of authors or other right holders in a fiduciary capacity. This mainly involves the enforcement of financial claims resulting from an exploitation. (Linked page in German.) 


On 1 March 2018, the new "Act on the harmonisation of copyright law to the current requirements of the knowledge society" (UrhWissG) became effective. Teachers must ensure that they can provide copyright-protected content to students in a legally compliant manner. ELAN e.V. has published a video illustrating what has to be observed with regard to the new permissions of use of copyrighted works.

Copyright Act

The German Copyright Act - UrhG replaced the Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works (LUG) and largely superseded the Act on Copyright in Works of Art and Photography (KUG). The Copyright Act is the legal basis for German copyright law and related rights. (Linked page in German.) 

Copyright Infringement

An infringement of copyright exists if works protected by copyright are exploited without the consent of the author. The author can take legal action against such an infringement and, among other things, claim damages. (Linked page in German.)

Creative Common License

Specifically, CC offers six different standard license agreements that can be used in the distribution of creative content to determine the legal conditions. CC itself is neither an exploiter nor a publisher of content and is not a contractual partner of authors and rights holders who wish to distribute their content under CC license agreements. (Linked page in German.)

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that offers help for authors to release legally protected content in the form of ready-made license agreements. (Linked page in German.) 

Data Privacy 

Depending on the point of view, data privacy is understood as protection against improper data processing, protection of the right to informational self-determination, protection of personal rights in data processing and also protection of privacy. Data privacy is often understood as a right that each person is basically allowed to decide for himself/herself who should have access to which of the personal data and when. (Linked page in German.) 

Deep Link

The terms surface link and deep link are used to categorize hyperlinks: A surface link refers to the homepage of a website, whereas a deep link refers directly to a specific, "deeper" subpage of a website or web-based application. (Linked page in German.)

Educational Institution

Educational institutions in Germany are institutions that offer and implement school and vocational training measures in the field of education and further education on behalf of the state. (Linked page in German.) 

Rights of Exploitation

The purpose of exploitation rights is to ensure that the author can derive an economic benefit from his or her created work. The legislator distinguishes between physical and non-physical forms of exploitation. (Linked page in German.) 


"E-Assessment" offers a variety of new forms of examination, which make the examination process easier for teachers, for example through electronic support and implementation. In addition to checking learning success, it also provides students with information on the status of their own learning process. The term "e-assessment" continues to be frequently associated with automatically analysable mass examinations, which enable students to obtain rapid feedback on their examination results. (Source: Arnold, Patricia; Kilian, Lars; Thillosen, Anne; Zimmer, Gerald (2018): Handbuch E-Learning. 5. Aufl. Bielefeld: S.38ff.)


By e-exams we mean computer-assisted examinations that are conducted in person. They offer more possibilities compared to conventional paper exams and can save time resources in the long run due to the automatic evaluation. For e-exams, the HRZ provides a pool of 100 notebooks with associated network infrastructure for JLU members. The exam notebooks can be set up in a suitable room during the lecture-free period. Larger numbers of participants in several sessions are also possible. Smaller exams can also be held in other rooms with existing PC equipment, for example in the HRZ or in the CIP cluster of the University Library. (Linked page in German.) 


The term "e-learning" is often used in a very generalised way in the context of higher education, but there is much more to it than is initially assumed. As the name suggests, e-learning refers to all forms of learning that use electronic or digital media. In particular, the term "e-learning" aims at an arrangement of digital media and virtual learning spaces. It can be used individually or also jointly in a group for competence development and education. The learning contents are presented here in a multimedia format and enable users to work on them autonomously and independently of location within a self-determined time frame. (Quelle: Arnold, Patricia; Kilian, Lars; Thillosen, Anne; Zimmer, Gerald (2018): Handbuch E-Learning. 5. Aufl. Bielefeld: S.23)


E-portfolios are web-based folders that integrate different digital media and services and are used especially in e-learning to collect digital (performance) certificates. They resemble a personal website and can be used by students to demonstrate their competence and reflect on their learning process. As a rule, e-portfolios can be made public to varying degrees and can, for example, be available online to all interested parties, be visible only to certain persons (e.g. a learning group or individual teachers) or be used individually and non-publicly as a kind of learning diary with the aim of developing one's own competence profiles and increasing learning success by reflecting on what has been learned. (Linked page in German.)


With e-exams you can efficiently test and evaluate the learning success of your students. See also Scanner Exam, E-exam, Peer Feedback or E-portfolio.

The advantages of electronic exams are obvious:

  • The test results are automatically evaluated immediately after the test (e-examination and scanner examination).
  • No errors in the transfer and evaluation of data (e- and scanner exam).
  • Free-text answers are readable and can therefore be evaluated manually more quickly (e-examination).
  • The creation of e-exams is comfortable and easy to learn (e- and scanner exam).
  • The test items can be provided with pictures, videos or animations (e-examination).
  • There are suitable task types for different types of learning content (all forms).
  • The question pools in the database can be reused as desired (e- and scanner exam).
  • Question order and answer options can be mixed up, so that each examinee can take a different test (e- and scanner exam).
  • The use of formative methods helps students and examiners to avoid the cumulative burden of exams at the end of the semester and also promotes the reflexive and cooperative competencies of students (e-portfolio and peer procedure).
(Linked page in German.)


The term "e-teaching" (electronic teaching) aims in particular at the perspective of the teacher and the teaching, whereas the term e-learning refers to the arrangement of digital learning media and virtual spaces. (Source: Arnold, Patricia; Kilian, Lars; Thillosen, Anne; Zimmer, Gerald (2018): Handbuch E-Learning. 5. Aufl. Bielefeld: S.23)


Accompanying e-tests can help learners to determine their own level of knowledge. The e-tests can be easily created and automatically evaluated via ILIAS so that the learners receive direct feedback. In ILIAS it is easy to implement by the tool "exercise". (Linked page in German.)

Federal Data Protection Act

The German Federal Data Protection Act, together with the data protection laws of the federal states and other sector-specific regulations, regulates the handling of personal data that is processed in information and communication systems or manually.

The revised version came into force on 25 May 2018. (Linked page in German.) 




Hyperlinks allow references to other places in hypertext. By clicking on hyperlinks, the user can access other pages or documents. In the WWW, links play an important role because they enable the non-linear reception characteristic of the Internet - so-called "surfing". Hyperlinks usually stand out from the general text by their colour and underscore. Graphics and images can also represent links. (Linked page in German.)

Informational Self-Determination

Informational self-determination is the right of the individual, recognised by the Federal Constitutional Court in view of the development of electronic data processing as an outflow of the general right of personality and human dignity, to decide in principle about the collection, storage, use and disclosure of his or her personal data. (Duden Recht A-Z. Fachlexikon für Studium, Ausbildung und Beruf. 3. Aufl. Berlin: Bibliographisches Institut 2015. Lizenzausgabe Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung). (Linked page in German.) 

Learning Management System

A Learning Management System (LMS), also known as a learning platform, usually forms the technical core of a complex, web-based e-learning infrastructure. It is a software installed on a web server that supports the provision and use of learning content and provides instruments for cooperative work and user administration. See also teaching management systems at JLU. (Linked page in German.) 

Legal Freedom of Use

Copyright law has limits. These limits are regulated by law in the barrier regulations. The so-called free licenses allow the use of copyrighted material even without the consent of the author.

The legal freedoms of use include the right of quotation (Section 51 UrhG), public access for teaching and research (Section 52a UrhG), digital reading stations in public libraries (Section 52b UrhG), reproduction for private and personal use (Section 53 UrhG), sending copies (Section 53a UrhG), setting links and embedding external content. (Linked page in German.)

Legal Certainty

Legal certainty is the protection of the individual citizen's confidence in the legality, guaranteed by the legal system and the administration of justice, of the outward appearance of the legally significant circumstances and things surrounding and encountering him. The principle of legal certainty, which is formally particularly pronounced in the various procedural systems, guarantees the individual the same legal assessment of similar individual cases, the foreseeability of legal consequences and the confidence that a decision made by the courts will be enforced. Among the characteristics of legal certainty are the prohibition of retroactive laws (especially those of an onerous nature), the safeguarding of the principle of trust and the guarantee of legal force. Legal certainty is an essential characteristic of a constitutional state. (Linked page in German.)

Legal Issues in E-Learning

Please follow the link of the article. (Linked page in German.) 


A license is the complete or partial transfer of industrial property rights by the author (licensor) to the licensee for a fee (license fee). Only the rights of use are transferred, the licensor remains the owner of the industrial property rights (patents, trademarks, utility models and registered designs, rights derived from copyright, e.g. title protection for a specific magazine). (Linked page in German.) 

License Agreement 

The licence agreement is not regulated in the German Civil Code (BGB) and is a contract of its own nature. A license agreement is a document by which owners of industrial property rights can grant rights of use to a third party. (Linked page in German.) 


See Open Educational Resources.

Official Work (§5 UrhG)

Official works do not enjoy protection within the meaning of the Copyright Act.

(1) Laws, ordinances, official decrees and notices as well as decisions and officially issued guidelines on decisions shall not enjoy copyright protection.
(2) The same shall apply to other official works published in the official interest for general information, with the restriction that the provisions on the prohibition of alterations and indication of sources in Section 62 (1) to (3) and Section 63 (1) and (2) shall apply accordingly.
(3) The copyright in private standard works shall not be affected by subsections 1 and 2 if laws, regulations, decrees or official notices refer to them without reproducing their wording. In this case, the author is obliged to grant every publisher the right to reproduce and distribute the work on reasonable terms. If a third party is the holder of the exclusive right of reproduction and distribution, that third party shall be obliged to grant the right of use pursuant to sentence 2. (Linked page in German.) 

Open Access

The Open Access movement aims to make scientific information - usually publications - freely available on the Internet. Open content is content such as texts, images, music or videos which may be freely copied, used and in some cases modified. Use is generally regulated by licences, which also specify how the original authors must be referenced. These licenses derive from the Open Source movement. (Linked page in German.)

Open Educational Resources

In general, Open Educational Resources is understood to be digitised teaching/learning material that is freely available on the Internet. OER can therefore be understood as very different forms such as courses, course applications, course modules, but also (hyper-) text files, images, audio, video, simulations, etc. (Linked page in German.)

Open Source

Open Source is a term for software whose source code, i.e. the internal functional description, is available free of charge for anyone to download, modify and redistribute. The development and administration of the software is usually driven by a community of developers and users that does not primarily pursue commercial interests. (Linked page in German.)

Personal Information

The concept of personal information is the gateway to the application of the basic data protection regulation and is defined in Art. 4 para. 1 no. 1DSGVO, which defines it as any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.

Data subjects are identifiable if they can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or one or more special characteristics which reveal the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of these natural persons. In practice, therefore, this includes all data which are or can be attributed in any way to a person. (Linked page in German.) 

Public Domain Work

All intellectual creations in which no intellectual property rights, in particular no copyright, exist are subject to the public domain. Public domain goods can be used by any person for any purpose without permission or payment obligation. (Linked page in German.) 

Right of Quotation 

Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Copyright Act) § 51 Quotations

It is permitted to copy, distribute and publicly reproduce a published work for the purpose of quoting, provided that the extent of use is justified by the specific purpose. This is particularly permissible if

1. individual works are included after publication in an independent scientific work to explain the content
2. positions of a work are cited after publication in an independent linguistic work,
3. individual passages of a published work of music are cited in an independent work of music.

The right to cite in accordance with sentences 1 and 2 includes the use of an illustration or other reproduction of the cited work, even if it is itself protected by a copyright or related right.

(Linked page in German.)

Research privilege

According to §9 PatG, only the patent holder may use the patented invention - all others are prohibited. Exceptions can be found in §11 PatG (see below). In the scientific field, the research or experimental privilege (Sec. 11 (2)) is particularly relevant. However, the experimental privilege does not mean that patents can be disregarded in research at state or non-profit research institutes, since the privilege does not regulate the research per se, but the framework in which it takes place. Experiments falling under §11(2) can serve both the purpose of obtaining research results and purely commercial interests.

Permitted acts of research are those experiments which directly concern the invention ("research on the subject matter"). This concerns experiments which are intended to clarify whether or how a patent-protected invention works or can be further developed. It also includes clinical trials of active substances in the context of drug approvals or trials designed to test their suitability for treating other diseases.

Accordingly, research on the subject matter of the patent is permitted - but not on the subject matter of the patent. The prohibitive effect of the patent extends to all work which uses the protected invention as a vehicle, i.e. in which the invention is used as a means of obtaining knowledge in another field. For example, patent protected methods may not be used to produce experimental designs. The use of devices which circumvent patented products or processes is also covered by patent protection - even and especially if the use is for research in a thematically distant field.


Permitted (§11PatG)

The effect of the patent shall not extend to

1. acts carried out in the private sector for non-commercial purposes
2. acts done for experimental purposes relating to the subject-matter of the patented invention; 
2a. the use of biological material for the purpose of breeding, discovering and developing a new plant variety; 
2b. Studies and tests and the resulting practical requirements necessary for obtaining a marketing authorisation for medicinal products in the European Union or a marketing authorisation under pharmaceutical legislation in the Member States of the European Union or in third countries;

3. the direct individual preparation of medicinal products in pharmacies on the basis of a medical prescription and acts relating to the medicinal products thus prepared;


Prohibited (§9PatG)

...patent... ...only the patent holder... use it. It is forbidden for any third party...

1. a product... manufacture, offer, market or use a product or ... import or possess it;
2. a process... or ... offer for application within the scope of this Act;
3. which, by a procedure... offer, place on the market or use the product manufactured by a process or ... import or possess.

(Linked page in German.) 

Teaching Commitment

The university teachers are responsible for teaching at the university. According to the Federal Constitutional Court in BVerfGE 35.79 (113), university teaching is defined as the "scientifically sound transmission of the knowledge gained through research". The freedom of teaching, which is protected by Article 5.3 of the Basic Law, guarantees that the teaching activities of university teachers are self-determined and free from directives in the choice of topics and methods.
In quantitative terms, the official duties of university teachers are generally regulated in accordance with the specifically assigned office as well as the respective Land's Ordinance on the Compulsory Teaching of the Land (LVVO). Furthermore, the extent of the teaching duties is determined by the respective fixing of the lecture period in the academic year. (Linked page in German.) 

Teaching Management Systems at JLU

A teaching management system or Learning Management System (LMS) is a web-based learning platform that enables communication between teachers and learners and provides numerous possibilities for taking over administrative tasks and contributes to reducing the workload in the teaching process. JLU Giessen provides Stud.IP as a content management system and ILIAS as a learning management system.

Text and Data Mining (§ 60d UrhG)

Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Copyright Act) § 60d Text and Data Mining

(1) In order to automatically evaluate a large number of works (original material) for scientific research, it is permissible

to reproduce the original material also automatically and systematically in order to create a corpus to be evaluated, in particular by normalisation, structuring and categorisation, and
to make the corpus publicly accessible to a defined group of persons for the purpose of joint scientific research and to individual third parties for the purpose of reviewing the quality of scientific research.

The user may only use it for non-commercial purposes.
(2) If database works are used in accordance with paragraph 1, this shall be deemed to be customary use in accordance with Section 55a, first sentence. If insignificant parts of databases are used in accordance with paragraph 1, this shall be deemed to be compatible with the normal exploitation of the database as well as with the legitimate interests of the database maker within the meaning of Section 87b, first paragraph, second sentence, and Section 87e.
(3) The corpus and the copies of the original material shall be deleted upon completion of the research work; the making available to the public shall be terminated. However, it is permissible to transfer the corpus and the reproductions of the original material to the institutions named in sections 60e and 60f for permanent storage. 

(Linked page in German.) 

Work / Work Types

According to copyright law, protectable works are exclusively personal intellectual creations. The legislator differentiates between different types of works, which largely differ in their form of presentation. (Linked page in German.)