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Copyright information Site - for lecturers

Material for education purposes

The Copyright Act ('Auteurswet 1912') stipulates that parts of existing work may be used for the purpose of education without requiring prior permission from the copyright holder. This applies to all work protected by the Copyright Act, not merely texts but also, for example, audio and visual material. 

It should be noted that citing sources is a prerequisite. Furthermore, the material may not be altered and it is imperative that the work has previously been published. 

When using copyright protected materials a fee must be paid. It is therefore preferable to link to the intended publications or use copyright free materials. 


One does not require permission to link to copyright protected materials that are accessible to everyone, and that are legally published. One is also free to embed materials without requiring permission as long as the original rendering of the work is not altered. When linking or embedding the source need not be cited since the link takes the user to the source. 

A work's copyright expires 70 years after its author has passed away, after which the material belongs to the public domain. Material pertaining to the government usually belongs to the public domain; laws, regulations, and court rulings are copyright free. It should be noted that copyright free material equally requires its sources be cited. 

Creative Commons

Work that has been published under a Creative Commons License (CC) can usually be used for education purposes without requiring permission. There are six CC licences that dictate which rights have been reserved by the author. A CC symbol conveys the conditions with which a work has been published. As with other work, materials protected by a Creative Commons License require its sources be cited. 

SURF rules of thumb for Compiling digital readers (PDF) offer other suggestions for finding copyright free material.

The Easy Access regulation

The VSNU and foundation PRO (Stichting PRO) established the Easy Access regulation in order to use copyright protected work for education purposes. This regulation simplifies (re)use of copyright protected work for readers or digital learning environments such as Blackboard and Canvas. 

The Easy Access regulation discerns between short extracts and long extracts. Short extracts are paid for on a yearly basis and do not need to be reported. Long extracts require permission be obtained beforehand. 

One does not require permission to copy a maximum of 50 pages provided the pages copied are less than 1/4 of the book or journal issue. For longer extracts one is required to first seek permission from Foundation PRO (Stichting PRO). If the extract is less than 1/3 of the work then permission will be granted immediately. If, however, it is larger than 1/3 of the work the Foundation PRO (Stichting PRO) will brokerage the payment with the copyright holder. Contact your faculty's reader coordinator for long extracts. One can also report an extract via the PRO web portal using the client number and one's faculty login codes. This information can be requested from Hans Helffer. For more information see the Quick reference compiling digital readers (PDF).

Journal articles: the license list

A few long acquisitions have already been redeemed via licenses. Consult the library's license list to see from which journals one is free to copy articles into readers or digital learning environment such as Blackboard or Canvas.

Audio and video material

The rules for acquisition also apply to that of audio and visual materials. In order to use other people's audio or visual work in a digital learning environment one has to be authorised. See Copyright when using video for education purposes (Dutch only; UvA department Education and Research IT services). 

Citing Sources

When using parts of someone else’s work it has to fit in the context of your work and you have to cite the source. Copyright rules also apply to using someone else’s images. One is allowed to repurpose images to discuss them but one is not allowed to use them as decoration.

Also, when quoting someone it is imperative to add a reference and not alter the quotation.


A proper citation ensures that the source is traceable and prevents the appearance of letting someone else’s work pass as one’s own. Reusing other people’s work without properly citing the source is plagiarism and a punishable offence.

Readers Online

Readers Online is a library service that makes readers, syllabi, and other mandatory literature accessible to students in digital form. In Readers Online it is possible to import readers and syllabi, and upload scans from personal documents. Missing articles or chapters are then supplemented by the library. The library also checks the bibliographical data and the copyright. 


The copyright of a thesis or graduation paper lies with the student. If you would like to see the work edited/changed this must be discussed with the student. 

Even though the copyright lies with the student Theses Online (Scripties Online) is accessible worldwide. Therefore, be vigilant that certain information is anonymised and do not allow students to use their own address information. 

A part of the assessment protocol is reviewing a thesis on correctly citing sources and plagiarism. See Plagiarism control with Turnitin (UvA Staff). 

Consult the KNAW-advice and the Fraud and Plagiarism Regulation for Students UvA as a tool for assessing plagiarism. 

See the website of SURF (Dutch only) and the Federation for Copyright Interests (Dutch only) for specific rules concerning copyright for universities. 

This page is part of the Copyright Information Site provided by the University Library. It also answers questions on copyright by students and researchers.

Copyright Information Site – start