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Copyright information Site - for lecturers


As a lecturer, you alternate between being a creator and a (re)user of information. You have to follow specific rules related to institutions in higher education. You can find a great deal of information about this subject on de website of SURF and the Federation for Copyright Interests.

Education support material

The Copyright Act stipulates that portions of a work may be used for teaching purposes without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

This concerns short extracts: for non-fiction books, you can copy a maximum of 10,000 words, but no more than a third of the book; for journals, newspapers or other periodicals, you are restricted to copying a maximum of 8,000 words, but no more than a third of the relevant article; for literary writings, you may copy a maximum of 2,500 words or a maximum of 100 lines of poetry, but no more than a tenth of the work;  photographs, illustrations, graphs, tables and diagrams count as 200 words, and only 25 of them may be copied from the same publication.

 (Digital) copies of these short extracts may be placed in a digital learning environment or distributed among the students enrolled in the course. In addition, you are obliged to clearly cite the source.

For longer extracts, you must obtain the prior permission of the copyright holder. This also applies to the work of colleagues or to your own work after it has been published and you have transferred your rights.

Stichting PRO handles the payments to copyright holders. You report the incorporation of the long extract via the PRO web portal. A customer number and login code are available per faculty; if necessary, contact Hans Helffer for more information.

See also the SURF rules of thumb for putting together readers.

Readers Online

Readers Online is a service of the Library offering students readers, syllabi and other required literature in a digital format. Readers Online allows you to upload syllabi, readers, scans or your own documents by means of an upload module. Missing articles or chapters will be added by the Library. The Library also checks the bibliographical information and the copyright.

Audio and visual material

Audio and visual material also fall under the Copyright Act. If you wish to place the audiovisual material of others in an electronic learning environment, you must have permission to do so.

You do not need permission to play the work of others during lessons, provided that you comply with the rules. See the SURF Rules of thumb for the use of audio and visual material for the general rules for the (re)use of audiovisual material for educational purposes. Go to Frequently asked questions about the (re)use of audio and visual material for information about specific subjects.

Royalty-free material

Creative Commons (CC)

Material published by a creator under a Creative Commons licence can usually be used for educational purposes without permission. The name must always be stated, however. A CC symbol indicates one of the six standard licences that determines which rights are reserved by the creator.

You can search for available photos with a CC licence on Flickr Creative Commons and Pixabay.

Open Images is an open media platform that grants access to 6,000 video files with a CC licence from (Dutch) audiovisual collections.

The page Rules of thumb for finding works with a licence for reuse (SURF) lists more options for finding royalty-free material.

Web lectures and Open Educational Resources (OER)

You can visit the SURF site for information about web lectures and copyrights. View the enhanced knowledge clips about detailed subjects, such as the reuse of sources and making web lectures available.

Linking to information on the web

You do not require permission to link to copyrighted works that are accessible to everyone and that were published legally. You may also embed these works without permission, as long as you do not change the original rendering of the work. The source does not need to be cited when linking or embedding works, because the link leads directly to the source.


In principle, the copyright of a thesis or graduation project is owned by the student. If you want do make a different arrangement, you must discuss this with the student. Checking theses for plagiarism is part of the examination cycle. Read the UvA Students Fraud and Plagiarism Regulations for the definition of plagiarism.  

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

Published by  Library UvA

26 September 2017