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Copyright Information Point

Clarification of laws and regulations

Almost everyone has to deal with copyright law: when (re)using educational material, presentations, publications or when writing an essay. Find out here what regulations may affect you.


Information on copyright in relation to compiling readers, using audio and video, utilizing the ELO, Open Content and referencing.


Things you need to know before you start compiling

The reader arrangement

Stichting UvO

Rotterdam University has a reader arrangement with the UvO foundation. This arrangement allows teachers to borrow short quotations of text or images for inclusion in a reader, without the need to ask for permission. Of course this means you must abide by the rules. You can find the rules for short or longer quotations on this page or in the Copyright Check flowchart for educational materials

Short quotations

Rules for short quotations

When you share copyright protected texts or images with your students in a reader or learning management system there are rules to take into account. The sharing of short quotations is allowed through the reader arrangement. What the requirements of a short quotation are you can read here.

  1. Non-literary book: you may quote a maximum of 10.000 words, but no more than 1/3 of the whole book.
  2. Magazine, newspaper: a maximum of 8000 words, but no more than 1/3 of the entire issue.
  3. Literature: a maximum of 2500 words of prose, or a maximum of 100 lines of poetry, provided it's no more than 1/10 of the original work.
  4. Images (graphs, tables, diagrams, photos and illustrations) count as 200 words. You may quote up to 25 images from a source, with a maximum of 5 works by the same maker (e.g. photographer, illustrator). 
  5. Law texts or case law, compiled and edited by a publisher (including annotations): a maximum of 1 complete verdict, but no more than 1/3 of the whole published work. Exceptions: unredacted law texts and court judgments, "de Staatscourant", "het Staatsblad" and "het Tractatenblad" can be quoted without limitations. Other Dutch government publications can be freely quoted unless the work states that all rights are reserved.
  6. Linking is always allowed. You can always link to a publication that is legally accessible on the internet or link to a publication is available in the library's collection. If possible, use a permalink or DOI. 
  7. Don't compile, rather use one short quotation per file. If you combine several short quotations in one file or (digital) reader, you have to upload an author's copy to the UvO Webportal

    Take note: To determine whether a quotation is short, all words are counted. Every graph or picture is counted as 200 words individually. 

You can check the amount of words in an PDF using the Wordcounter of the UvO foundation. This will let you count words in PDF's up to 150 pages. Take note that images, tables or graphs will not be counted. Add these to the word total yourself (one image counts for 200 words).

Long quotations

Longer Quotations

If you need to exceed the limit for short quotations, you have a couple of options to do so.

1. Link

Linking to a legally accessible publication is free, easy and you don't need permission.

  1. Investigate whether a publication is legally accessible anywhere on the internet and use the link.
  2. If not, find out if a publication is available in the library's collection and link to it.
    Take note you create a link that doesn't expire and also works outside campus. For example, START shows a link button for each search result that you can use. Many other databases offer similar functionality for permanent links. Contact the library when you need help!

2. Asking for permission

When you want to use a long quotation in a reader or upload it to a Learning Management System, you need to request permission. The UvO foundation takes care of the collective copyright administration for higer education. Permission for longer quotations can be requested through the the UvO Webportal. The tariffs for long quotations can be found on the UvO Website. Contact the business office of your institute for access to the portal. Take note: Permissions for long quotations are valid only for the academic year, and number of students they were requested for. If you want to keep on using the long quotation beyond this term, submit a new request through the UvO Webportal.

Permission straight from the copyright holder(s)
Do you have permission for a long quotation straight from the copyright holder? Include written permission with the long quotation.  Are you the author of the publication? If sharing on LMS or in a reader is allowed depends on the publishing agreement. If a source has a Creative Commons license the maker has given permission for distributing the work. You may share this source in its entirety, reference the source and note the license. 

3. Studie Bijdehand

Whenever you supply (digital) readers through Studie Bijdehand, they will incorporate the copyright contributions for longer quotations. You can find more information on this at the Studie Bijdehand website.

Source reference is compulsory!

Prevent plagiarism

Both long and short copied fragments require a source reference in the reader. Using a reference style like APA is prefered but not mandatory here. For a book or e-book this means at least: Title, author and publisher. For a newspaper or magazine you must also mention the issue and volume number. If you're quoting an online source also note the URL.

Reference your sources in presentations
Also reference sources in presentations (PowerPoint, Prezi) placed on the learning management system. Reference the source of used images. You can do so on the slide itself, or by compiling references on a separate slide.  Of used images in presentations reference at least: Maker, title and publisher, if you're quoting an online source also note the URL. 

Example source references in presentation:

  • Source: Ajay Bailey and Inge Hutter, 2010, Qualitative Research Methods. (p. 18), Sage Publications.
  • Source: CBS, 2020. Evolution of the debt-to-GDP ratio,


Audio & video

Rules for using audiovisual material during lessons

You are allowed to present a complete movie, audio work, or documentary for free and without permission, provided you adhere to the following requirements:

  • The presentation is for educational purposes and is part of the school programme.
  • The presentation takes place on the premises of the educational institution.
  • The presentation is for non-profit education only.
  • Streaming video or audio fragments from the internet is allowed. Downloading the material for playback later is not.

If you want to show a movie or documentary outside the premisses of the educational institution as part of a conference for example you need to ask for permission:

  • For movies you can agree on a licence at
  • For videos on Youtube : first you need to check whether the maker uploaded the movie himself and ask for permission. If not you need to find out who the original maker is and ask for permission.
  • For movies / series on Netflix : for movies / series from third parties shown on Netflix, you can agree on a licence at
    For movies / series from Netflix itself you need to ask permisson from Netflix.

Learning Management System

Guidelines for sharing


Reader arrangement

The reader arrangement also applies to the Learning Management System(s) of Rotterdam University. The rules for compiling a reader can be found above. Readers that fulfil these conditions may be placed on the LMS.

Audiovisual material

Regulations for putting audiovisual material on a Learning Management System

  • Preferably use Open Access material with a CC license. These have less strict requirements within the traditional copyright regulations. More information can be found at Open Content.
  • Linking or embedding is allowed when the material has been published legally (that is with permission of the creator).
  • Uploading a copy of a video to the LMS is only allowed when the copyright owner has given permission to do so.
  • Teachers can make use of the reader arrangement for educational purposes. This includes using copied pictures and text in presentations.  The requirements can be found at ‘Readers’.
  • Just as with text, sound an images may be quoted. When doing so, follow these rules:
    • The quoted material is used to support the content, not just for decoration or for fun.
    • Don't use more video or audio than needed to support your story. In practice this means using short fragments.
    • Images can be "quoted" in their entirety.
    • Quote only material that has been legally published (with authorization of the author).
    • Don't make any changes in the quoted picture or audio fragment.
    • Always make sure you cite your sources. For images mention the name of the author and where you found it. For internet pictures also mention the reference date. The citation can be placed as a footnote with the image, in the comments field of a presentation or bundled as a source reference. Optionally you can add the statement "this presentation contains no copyrighted material unless mentioned otherwise.  

Take note: when you can't meet these demands, a reasonable fee has to be paid to the copyright holders of the work you wish to share. When you have (written) permission from the copyright holder, include this declaration with the copied material that has been shared on the LMS.

Web lectures & screencasts

Pay attention to the following when sharing self-made web lectures or screencasts.

  • Are you using movie fragments, pictures or music from others? Keep in mind the regulations as described under Film & audio.
  • Cite your sources and mention it when you've obtained permission from the copyright holders.
  • Take the privacy guidelines into account. For questions regarding privacy and AVG contact the  Privacy information point of Rotterdam University.

Take note: When you want to make your web lectures or screen casts available publicly, the regular copyright laws apply.

Open Content

More freedom to share, download and (re)use

Creative Commons and Open Access

Creative Commons licences

Artists, writers, scientists and all other authors can choose to publicize their work as Open Access. The material then gets a Creative Commons license ( ). This makes it possible to deal with copyright in a more flexible manner. Their are various Creative Commons licenses to choose from. Which type is chosen determines to what extend a work can be spread further, under which conditions and whether it's allowed to modify it. So before you (re)use Creative Commons material, first determine what type of license has been used. Read more about the various types of licenses

More information on Open Access publishing

Public Domain

Material from which the copyright has expired

Material from the public domain (     ) can be used freely. The copyright has either expired or does not apply to this material. It can be used without any restrictions, for any purpose, without the need for permission or citing names or sources. In Europe work enter the public domain 70 years after the author has died. When the creator is unknown, or the copyright is owned by a company, the copyright expires 70 years after the first publication. In the Netherlands many government publications are also public domain. Examples are laws, regulations and court orders.

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources

With the increased popularity of Open Access, Open Educational Resources (OER) have also become available. Text, images, video and even complete learning modules are can be downloaded and are free to use. When you want to (re)use OER, pay attention to the following:

  • What are the conditions for (re)use under the license terms? For example Attribution, NonCommercial, ShareAlike.
  • Display for each item you reuse what the source and license is that is being used.
  • Does the material have a ShareAlike condition? Then you are required to share your derivative work under the same license conditions as the original.

Where can you find Open Content?

Searching for Open Content

There are various photo stock sites, image repositories and archives on the internet that (also) contain open content. Often you can search or filter on material with a license that allows for reuse. Some suggestions for finding Open Content:

  • CC Search : Search through various sources for open content media files.
  • Google Images : After entering your search query, click on "Tools" and set "Usage rights" to "Labelled for reuse".
  • Google Advanced Search: gives your the option to filter on usage rights.
  • LetsCC : Images, sound and video.

Please note: always examine the terms for (re)use of the material that you've found. The rules for source reference also apply to the use of Open Content in written works of students (such as a thesis).

More information

Helpful guides and websites


in your own publications

When you do research for your publication, for example an article, book or thesis, you make use of existing literature and other information sources. Using texts and ideas from others is allowed, provided you cite the original (information) source.

Our Literature research guide explains how you do this.

Go to the Literature research guide

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