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Copyright for Lecturers

What is permitted when producing teaching materials, and who has copyright over teaching materials? The Copyright Information Site provides information on this and can answer any questions you may have.

What you need to know

Copyright applies to documents, images, films, music and other scientific or artistic works. The creator doesn’t have to do anything to obtain copyright, as they receive it automatically.

Copyright allows the creator to decide how, where and when their work is published and reproduced. Copyright remains in force until 70 years after the death of the creator. Or, if the creator is a legal entity, until 70 years after the first publication of the work. On the death of the creator, copyright passes to their heirs. Copyright over a work can be transferred, such as to a publisher.

Using other people’s work

You can quote from or paraphrase other people’s work without permission in teaching materials. A quotation means to include a short extract from someone else’s work, word for word. When you paraphrase, you must accurately reflect the intent of the other person’s work. In addition, the quotation or paraphrase must support the content of the teaching materials and you must not use more than you need. These conditions apply to texts and to PowerPoints, videos or other teaching materials such as web lectures, see: Videos in education (in Dutch).

Reusing other people’s work

Reuse means, among other things, sharing and disseminating other people’s work unaltered. In non-commercial education, you can reuse some or all of a work on the basis of the exception for educational purposes, e.g. by making it available to students within a secure electronic (learning) environment. This is subject to the following conditions: the work must be published by legal means, it must not be amended and a fee must be paid for reuse.

The UvA has made arrangements for the reuse of certain copyright-protected texts (articles, parts of books) on the basis of this exception for educational purposes, see the step-by-step plan: Reuse for educational purposes. UvA does not have a similar arrangement for audiovisual materials such as music or films. Music, movies and so on may be presented during lectures, both online and on campus, albeit under certain prescribed conditions and within a secure electronic (learning) environment. You can find out what is permissible in education and when you must contact a collective copyright clearance organisation such as Buma/Stemra, Pictoright, or Videma in Guidance on the use of images and sound.

Also, you can sometimes use other works without permission. This applies, of course, to works whose copyright has expired and to more recent works that have been published under a Creative Commons (CC) licence. With a CC licence, the creator forgoes certain rights. In that case, non-commercial reuse, including sharing with students, is permitted. There are a number of different licences: Explanation of Creative Commons licences (in Dutch).

Acknowledging your sources

When using or reusing other people’s work, you must always acknowledge your sources. Proper acknowledgement of sources ensures that these works can be traced. How you cite your sources will depend on your study programme. Citation software automates the referencing of sources in a specific style. The UvA supports a number of different citation managers: Citing and Acknowledging Sources.

When assessing your work, we will always check that you have acknowledged your sources correctly and have not included anything without acknowledging the source (plagiarism), see: Plagiarism and fraud.

Your own teaching materials

Copyright in any teaching materials that you produce lies with your employer. Publication of these teaching materials, through a CC licence or otherwise, requires the consent of the UvA. For more information on teaching materials and the sharing of teaching materials, see: Online teaching materials. When producing teaching materials, you can use the UvA house style.

If the teaching materials contain images that you have produced yourself that depict a recognisable person, the person in the image can claim portrait rights. As the creator, you have copyright over the image, but you cannot publish it if the person depicted in it objects to it. Ideally, you should have the person or persons depicted in the image sign a declaration of consent before you publish the image. Images >> Portrait rights.