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Digital Course Reserves

According to section 52a of the German Copyright Act (UrhG), it is allowed – under certain conditions – to provide copyright protected works in electronic form for the participants of courses or research groups via the learning platform. However, this is only permitted under the conditions specified in section 52a UrhG.

The Main Conditions

Electronic Licenses

According to the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH), a mere license offer takes precedence over the use of materials under section 52a UrhG.

For e-Books and articles from eJournals already licensed by Mannheim University Library, you can provide links to these ressources in ILIAS.

Besides, you can upload pdf-files provided by the platform (Booktex) to ILIAS.

Link to Electronic Media

Mannheim University Library offers a broad range of e-books. They can be accessed via the catalogue Primo. Use Primo’s permalink functionality to link from ILIAS to a specific item in the catalogue.

E-journals can be accessed via Primo, via the Electronic Journal Library (EZB), or in article databases. Many journals support permalinks that can be included in ILIAS.

Members of the University can access electronic media for which the University Library has a license on site, and via the encrypted WLAN network Adonis. Remote access is possible via virtual private network (VPN). A few database providers don’t allow VPN.

Use (Booktex)

The platform (Booktex) offers special licenses for copyright protected texts from some german publishers. The complete list of publishers can be found on the start page of

Some of the texts included in are available in electronic form at Mannheim University Library, too. Please check the catalogue Primo before using

If the texts are not available in electronic form at the University Library, but are offered by, you can license them. The license is valid for one specific course and for one semester only. The price is calculated based on the number of pages and the number of students that attend the course.

The University Library checks every order, and refers you to more cost-effective solutions, if appropriate. This can take up to 2 working days. The University Library bears the costs of orders by Mannheim University teaching staff up to a total of EUR 3,000.

How to use (PDF, 449 KB, only available in German)

Extent of Use

For instructional purposes small parts of works, small scale works, as well as individual articles from newspapers or journals may be made available under section 52a UrhG.

“Small parts” means

  • a maximum of 12 percent and no more than 100 pages of a work. This includes all pages that are not blank and consist predominantly of text.
  • a maximum of 15 percent of an item in the case of non-textual works and no more than 5 minutes of a video.

Purpose of Use

Under section 52a UrhG, works may be made available

  • for instructional purposes.
  • to members of a research group for their own scientific work.

Password Protection

Materials may only be made available to the limited group of course participants, or members of the research group, respectively, e. g. password-protected on ILIAS.

Payment for the Use of Materials under Section 52a UrhG

Until the end of 2016, the legally required fee was paid in form of a lump sum by the Länder to the German Copyright Collective Agency (VG Wort). In the new framework agreement between the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) and VG Wort from 28 September 2016, the fee for the use of copyright protected materials to be paid by the university was calculated according to the individual use of the text by every instructor (via a portal provided by VG Wort). According to a pilot project carried out by the University of Osnabrück, this creates unreasonably complicated administrative procedures, especially for teaching staff.

The University of Mannheim decided not to join the framework agreement following the recommendations of the State Rectors' Conference of Baden-Württemberg as well as many other State Rectors' Conferences and higher education institutions in Germany.

Recently, the German Rector's Conference (HRK), the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), and the Copyright Collective Agency VG WORT agreed to extend the existing payment of lump sums for the use of texts as defined in section 52a UrhG until September 2017. By this time, a joint working group of HRK, KMK and VG WORT shall find a practical solution under consideration of the judgment of the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) of 20 March 2013.

More information

German Federal Court of Justice (BGH), judgement of 20 March 2013, Az. I ZR 84/11 (Gesamtvertrag Hochschul-Intranet)

German Rector's Conference (HRK) (23-12-2016): Vorläufige Vereinbarung zur Verwendung von Schriftwerken für Lehre und Forschung an Hochschulen [press release].

State Rectors' Conference of Baden-Württemberg and Universität Bayern e.V. (02-11-2016): Digitale Lehre: Bayerische und baden-württembergische Universitäten lehnen Beitritt zur Rahmenvereinbarung der VG Wort ab [press release].

Pilot project carried out by the University of Osnabrück


What alternatives exist to provide students with materials?

Works under Open Licenses

Materials under open licenses, e.g. Creative Commons-BY, can be used according to the license terms and regardless of section 52a UrhG.

Thee OERinfo website provides information on Open Educational Resources (OER). OER can be obtained from the platform OER Commons.

Put items on Course Reserves

Do you want to set aside recommended books for class use? We can prepare course reserves from our collections according to your wishes in one of our library sections.

More information on course reserves.

Submit Acquisition Requests

Are you missing an important item in our portfolio, or do you need more items of a specific book? The University Library will be pleased to receive your acquisition requests. Please state how many items are needed and if an electronic version is preferred.

Acquisition requests can be posted via a central form.

Share Reading Lists

You can include reading lists with references to print literature available at Mannheim University Library in ILIAS, in order to help students to quickly get access to these items in the library.


Learning platform ILIAS
ILIAS-Beratung, Referat Hoschschuldidaktik: ilias(at)

Licensing of electronic media
Team E-Medien, UB Mannheim: e-medien(at)

Support for questions regarding copyright
Dr. Marion von Francken-Welz, UB Mannheim

My library account Available Seats Opening Hours Information & Advice Chat (Mon-Fri 10am-6pm)
+49 621 181 2948
Schloss Schneckenhof West
D 68131 Mannheim