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 over a work can be transferred, such as to a publisher. Creators can also opt to make their work freely available with a creative commons license. 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.
Using other people’s work
If you want to use copyrighted work, permission from the copyright holder is required. There are two exceptions. You may make a copy of the work for your own use without the permission of the maker.
Also, you may quote from or paraphrase other people’s work without permission in teaching materials. You must always mention the source. 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 your own words. 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. For non-commercial education, you can reuse (parts of) a work on the basis of the exception for educational purposes, for example by making it available to students within a secure electronic (learning) environment. This is subject to the following conditions: the (parts of the) work must be published by legal means, it must not be amended, it is meant to explain your education and a fee must be paid for reuse.
Texts and images
The UvA has made arrangements for the reuse of certain copyright-protected texts (articles, parts of books) and images on the basis of this exception for educational purposes.
- How this works for textual publications can be found on this page on copying publications into a printed reader or Canvas. Also use the Library's handy Copyright Checker.
- You can find out how to correctly use images and how to cite the source on the web page about using images in your teaching materials.
The UvA does not have a similar arrangement for audiovisual materials such as music or films. Audiovisual material 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.
When you, as a teacher, create audiovisual educational material yourself, such as knowledge clips or registrations of lectures, you must also take copyright and portrait rights into account. You can read more about this on the page about copyright and audiovisual material.
Freely available material
Some works you may use without permission. This applies to works with expired copyright 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).
What about AI-generated material?
Copyrights and AI-generated material are still a grey area. If you want to use AI-generated content in your teaching, please refer to the tool used to generate the material. Be aware that many tools, such as ChatGPT, are not transparent about underlying sources, and source references are far from accurate for the time being.
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.
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.
Need support or advice?
- Ask the Library
The Library is a member of the national Network of Copyright Information Points. There you will find even more reliable information about copyright issues and related laws and regulations in higher education.