EPF delegate Agnès Botrel from the publisher Magnard described some current issues in the education market for publishers in France, while guest speaker Audran Le Barron, Director of Digital Education at the French Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports, gave a detailed presentation of the government’s action plan for digital education in schools. Le Baron noted that the primary level in France was mostly about textbooks, and that digital textbooks were only possible at high school level.

Guest speaker Martin Ulbrlch from the European Commission joined the meeting by video from Brussels to discuss AI developments in the EU and the AI Act. Ulbrich described the negotiations around the Act and the pressure to deliver before May 2024 when the current EU Parliament ends. The main objective is regulation of AI companies by 2026, which is very fast by EU standards. The issue of ‘European sovereignty’ was raised: how to balance regulation with evolution of a strong industry in Europe?

Vera Castanheira (IPA’s Copyright Counsellor) and Jessica Sanger (Chair, IPA Copyright Committee) followed and led a discussion about how AI is affecting publishers and detailing the work of the IPA’s Copyright Policy Working Groupin bringing together internal policy talking points which will evolve into public positions in due course. They stressed that the international copyright law framework is fit for use and has enough flexibility already to deal with all current AI challenges.

Quentin Deschandelliers, legal adviser to the Federation of European Publishers introduced a tool that enables publishers to exercise their rights under current legislation and spoke of further developments within the W3Consortium. Enrico Turin also from Federation of European Publishers surveyed current concerns in Europe and the Commission’s Digital Education Action plan. The EPF’s Graham Taylor introduced a Dossier on AI which collects together a compendium of links to recent Statements, Guidance, Codes, Orders, Declarations, etc. on AI with relevance for Education and Copyright.

The next EPF meeting will be an online session on 2 February with the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher describing the outcomes of the latest PISA survey. This will be followed by an in-person meeting on 15 March 2024 in London, the day after the London Book Fair; then another in-person meeting on 28 June 2024, in Gdansk, Poland; the annual open meeting at Frankfurt Book Fair on 18 October 2024; and a final meeting in November 2024, to be arranged.