Copyright law for lecturers & the Easy Access regulations

If you want to reuse copyrighted materials in your teaching, for example on Canvas, you should keep certain aspects of copyright law in mind, as well as any costs involved. If possible, use the methods described below to reuse materials in your teaching for free. You can find elaborate information in our Libguide. Do you have questions or need advice? Feel free to mail us or make an appointment

Easy Access regulations
If the materials you require are not freely available, you can make use of the Easy Access regulations of the Dutch Publication and Reproduction Rights Organisation, or PRO Foundation (Stichting PRO). Bear in mind that VU Amsterdam always pays for extracts acquired via Easy Access. In 2017, the Dutch universities agreed with the PRO Foundation to reduce the number of extracts via the PRO Foundation by five percent annually. Failing this, the universities will be fined.

Two ways to reuse content in your teaching for free
There are two ways to reuse teaching materials without incurring costs for VU Amsterdam. We request that you use these methods as much as possible.

1.You can always link to publications either legally available on internet or for which the University Library has a licence.
If the VU Amsterdam University Library has a licence for the digital publication, you may link to it, for instance via Canvas. However, you may not repost the publication on Canvas, as this is regarded as republication. Read the guide Linking to sources from Canvas on how to do this correctly.

Once you have logged into VUnet, you will have access to all of the digital publications that the VU Amsterdam University Library has licences for. If the University Library has a licence, a link 'VU LibSearch' will be displayed next to the search result. If you want to also see the VU LibSearch links in your Google Scholar search results, you will have to adjust the Google Scholar settings. Read the guide on using Google Scholar with LibSearch links (PDF) to find out more about this.

In addition, you can find materials to link to via avenues including Google Books and Google.

2. Open Access/Open Educational Resources
Materials that have been published through open access or with a Creative Commons licence can be used for free, including on Canvas. A Creative Commons licence means that the maker has given explicit consent for re-use if a number of conditions are met. You must in any case state the original author. There may also be other conditions. Which conditions these are depends on the exact nature of the licence. The Creative Commons website can be used to find sources that are not subject to copyright, from texts and illustrations to music and video materials.

Another potential source is the Overview of sources for open educational resources.

To find Open Educational Resources in your field, you can also get in touch with the University Library subject specialist for your faculty.

Extracts via the Easy Access regulations
If the ways described above do not yield the desired materials for your teaching, you can use the Easy Access regulations of the PRO Foundation. However, we do strongly request that you only use materials in Category 1: brief extracts. This involves the lowest costs for VU Amsterdam. Permission does not need to be requested from the PRO Foundation for brief extracts.

Brief extracts
Brief extracts are extracts from copyrighted materials that per source are no more than 8,000 words (for journals and magazines) to 10,000 words (for books) in length. This may amount to no more than a third of the total length of the original source. The limit for the number of illustrations is 25. These numbers pertain to the entire course for a subject, not to a single lecture!

Medium-length extracts
For a medium-length extract, you may cite  up to a maximum of 50 pages of a publication (book, magazine), up to a maximum of 25% of that publication. Although prior permission is not required, medium-length extracts are more expensive for VU Amsterdam, and thus should be avoided.

Longer extracts
All longer extracts require explicit consent from the copyright holder, which often also involves payment. Bear in mind, however, that students seldom study texts of such length properly when these are in digital form.

If you want to use a major part of a source, the University Library can also consider purchasing the source for the collection. For advice and support regarding such long extracts, please get in touch with Rogier van de Blaak or Sylvia Moes.

Questions and advice
If you have any further questions or would like a presentation or workshop about copyright to be given at your faculty or department, please get in touch with Rogier van de Blaak and Sylvia Moes. They will be happy to help. You can also consult the FAQs.