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Dealing with Copyright in Education

Copyright in Education

Do you want to reuse copyrighted material in your courses, for example in lectures or on Canvas? Then please bear in mind the copyright rules and potential costs for the VU and the VUmc.

Since the VU/VUmc pays an annual fee to be able to reuse copyright-protected material, we ask that you use the free options whenever possible. Below, you will find an overview of the copyright rules per source type as well as information about all available options (free of charge).

What is your Source?

Alle
Alle

Alle

Article

Article

Audio or Video

Audio / Video

the internet source

Internet

the images

Image

the (content of the) Book

Book

How do you want to use it?

Alle

All

Canvas

Canvas

Copying

Copying

Reader

Readers

College

Lectures

undo

Back

undo

Back

Rules for using {source} {target}

 
 

Free – What is always permitted?

 

There  in which you can include Audio and Video Material on Canvas to include Articles inInformation inImages in Text from Books in Canvas to copy ArticlesText from Books in which you can copy Images to include ArticlesTexts from Booksin which you can include Images in a Reader without infringing copyright or incurring additional costs. free of charge.

  • Link to the Source:
    You can always refer to an article in a digital journal by using a link. Find out how to do this in Canvas here.You may always link to audio clips and videos that are online. This way, you are only referring or linking to the source; you are not republishing anything. This also includes embedding YouTube videos. In addition, the Dutch public broadcaster (NPO) has a lot of audio and video material on Academia.nl that you can refer/link to. There is also a lot of material available on Eyefilme.nl..You may always link to material that has been published online without running into any problems or incurring additional costs. Since the source is already available on the internet, this is often the easiest option. Find out how to do this in Canvas here.Some publishers make (parts of) their books available online so that everyone can read them. Sometimes, parts of a book are also available to preview on Google Books. Since you are not republishing but only referring to (parts of) a book, there are no costs involved.
  • Embedding Images:
    Instead of downloading an online image and then uploading it to Canvas, you can also embed it. You can do this by looking up the link of an image and posting it in Canvas. If it is possible to embed it, the entire image will appear in Canvas.
    This is not the same as republishing the image on Canvas; instead, it is like you are framing the image. You are still referring to the image in its original location (so it is free of charge), but for the user it looks like the image is in Canvas.
  • Open Access:
    Articles published under a  Creative Common (CC) License can always be copied and disseminatedreused free of charge, provided you adhere to the terms of the specific license. You can find these kinds of open-access articles on the Narcis and KNAW websites as well as in the Directory of Open Access Journals. You can also use Unpaywall a useful plug-in for Chrome and Firefox. You can use this to see whether an article has already been published as an open-access article somewhere.
  • Creative Commons:
    In addition to linking, you may also reuse audio and video mMaterial shared under a  Creative Commons (CC) - license free of charge, provided you adhere to the terms of that specific license. Under Open education resources (OER), you will find a list of locations where you can find this type of audio and video material.
  • Open Content:
    Images under a  Creative Commons (CC) - license can always be reused and uploaded to Canvas free of charge, provided you adhere to the terms of that specific license (at least mention the source).
  • Open Textbooks:
    More and more open textbooks are becoming available online. These textbooks can be downloaded free of charge and you can reuse the material contained therein without any problems, provided you adhere to the specific licence.
    Good sources for open textbooks libguides.vu.nl/resource-centre-education/oer-textbooks
  • Quotations:
    You may always quote a short passage, as long as it is not longer than necessary. Make sure, however, that you also add a link to the original source.

There are a lot of images online that are shared openly. Europeana has a large database of open-access historical art and photos. You can also use the  Creative Commons (CC) website to search for open-access images on Pixabay and Flickr (integrated in Canvas).

Paid extracts


Each year, the VU pays an advance amount for materials used and for which no prior permission has been requested. This amount is based on the size and number of extracts used in the previous year. For this reason, you should, as far as possible, use the free options described above or, failing that, make sure the extract is as short as possible (a short extract costs less than a medium-length extract). As such, the VU will have more money left over to fund other education-related activities. More information about this can be found on Background information about copyright page.

Short extracts

  • Max. 8.000 words: A short extract from a journal is classified as no more than 8,000 words from the same publication.
  • Number of words used per course are added together: The number of words used for the entire course are added together. For example, if you use 5,000 words from the same journal for the same course twice, this is no longer classified as a short extract.
  • No permission required: No prior permission is required for a short extract.
  • Max. 25 images: You can use up to 25 images from the same copyright-protected work in your course (this is the limit for a short extract).
  • Number of images used per course are added together: The number of images used for the entire course are added together. For example, if you use 15 images from the same source for the same course twice, this is no longer classified as a short extract.
  • No permission required: No prior permission is required for a short extract.
  • Max. 10,000 words: A short extract from a book may not exceed 10,000 words from the same book. This must not be more than one third of the total book (based on the number of pages).
  • Number of words used per course are added together: The number of words used for the entire course are added together. For example, if you use 6,000 words from the same book for the same course twice, this is no longer classified as a short extract.
  • No permission required: No prior permission is required for a short extract.

Medium-length extracts

  • 50 pages: A medium-length extract is classified as no more than 50 pages from the same journal, provided this does not exceed 25% of the journal. An image counts as half a page. A medium-length extract costs the VU more than a short extract.
  • Number of pages used per course are added together As is the case for short extracts, the number of pages used for the entire course are added together.
  • No permission required: No prior permission is required for a medium-length extract
  • Max. 100 images: A medium-length extract is classified as no more than 50 pages, provided this does not exceed 25% of the total work. An image counts as half a page. So if you only use images from a source and nothing else, you can use up to 100 images and this will still be classified as a medium-length extract.
  • Both text and images count: However, if you are also using text from the same source, you need to add the number of pages and the number of images together to see if you are still within the limit for a medium-length extract.
  • No permission required: No prior permission is required for a medium-length extract.
  • 50 pages: A medium-length extract is classified as no more than 50 pages from the same book, provided this does not exceed 25% of that book. An image counts as half a page. A medium-length extract costs the VU more than a short extract.
  • Number of pages used per course are added together: As is the case for short extracts, the number of pages used for the entire course are added together.
  • No permission required: No prior permission is required for a medium-length extract.

Long extracts (50+ pages100+ images)

For extracts longer than 50 pageswith more than 100 images, you must obtain the explicit prior permission of the copyright holder, for which a fee is often charged.

It is worth noting here that students rarely (thoroughly) read texts of this length in digital format. If you want to use a long extract from a source, the University Library can also find out whether the source is available to purchase (digitally), so that students can have access to it. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you need advice or support regarding long extracts.

Other ways to reuse material


If you want to include audio or video material in Canvas that has not been shared with a  Creative Commons (CC) license and/or it is not possible to link to the content, you will have to ask permission from the owner. There are currently no agreements in place with Stichting UvO within the Easy Access Agreement regarding the (re)use of audio and video material, so you will need to request permission.

When making copies of online resources, you actually always need to have the owner’s prior permission, unless the online resource has been published under a  Creative Commons (CC) license. In that case, you may copy the material, provided that you adhere to the terms of the specific license (at least mention the source).

A really easy way to include online resources in your copies is to add a QR code. Students can then easily scan the QR code with their phone or tablet and find the source. There are several QR code generators available online.

However, it is also a good idea to include a shortened link under the QR code, since not everyone is able to scan QR codes. (You can create shortened links using TinyURL or Bitly.com.)

No Easy Access Agreement


The Easy Access Agreement with Stichting UvO does not contain any agreements about online sources such as websites. This means that you always need permission to republish material from websites.

Of course, you can always refer to this material via a link and you may use the material if it has been shared under a  Creative Commons (CC) license.

Rules for using {source} {target}


For lectures, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to reusing materials. You can include an unlimited number of images from show full texts of articles or books in your presentations, as well as play visual and audio material, provided that it meets the following conditions:

  • The material is used for educational purposes and forms part of the curriculum.
  • The material is used for non-profit-making educational purposes (this is always the case for education and teaching provided for VU students).
  • You include a reference to the copyright.
  • The material is used within the walls of the VU.
  • You may not download and play videos unless they are shared under a  Creative Commons (CC) license, but you may stream them (e.g. on YouTube).

PLEASE NOTE These rules only apply to the use of materials for educational purposes. If you then upload your presentation containing video and audio materials to Canvas, the rules for using materials books images on Canvas then apply and these are stricter.

Please also note: If you record your lectures and then disseminate those recordings at a later date, additional rules also apply.


You may display websites for educational purposes (e.g. in lectures) without a problem. This is because you are not republishing the material; you are just showing it to the students. If you want students to be able to find the sources from your presentation, you can include links in your slides (possibly even shortened versions of the links, using TinyURL or Bitly.com). Not all links can be shortened. You will only know which ones can be shortened when you try it.

Please also note: If you record your lectures and then disseminate those recordings at a later date, the rules of the publication location will apply. After all, you are then republishing the material (albeit now in video form). The recorded lecture is now a new publication. All the material that you could originally show in your lecture has now been bundled and is offered for reuse. Material that could be shown without any problems at first, may suddenly be subject to copyright through this form of (re)publication.