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Copyright and Brightspace

Brightspace is the electronic learning environment of Leiden University.

Lecturers deposit their materials on behalf of their students in Brightspace. Third party copyrighted material must be used in accordance with the agreement concluded by Dutch universities with the copyright holders (the publishers).

What you post on Brightspace adds to the costs for your institute/faculty. The Teaching Exception in the Dutch Copyright Act allows teachers to make copyrighted material available to their students without the permission of the author or copyright holder. However, fair compensation must be paid for this use. To this end, the VSNU (Association of Dutch Universities) has entered into an agreement with Foundation UvO, the representative of the joint scientific publishers. This agreement is called the Easy Access Agreement or Reader Agreement. Each university pays its share to the VSNU, which pays the joint amount to Foundation UvO.

As a teacher, you are involved in this process as follows. The amount that Leiden pays to Foundation UvO via the VSNU is divided proportionally between the faculties. The more copyrighted material a faculty places on Brightspace, the higher the amount that is charged to that faculty. Each faculty decides for itself whether to pay these costs from its central budget, or to charge these costs proportionally to its institutes.

As a teacher, can you share third-party copyrighted material with students via other platforms than Brightspace, for example via Kaltura, MS Teams, Google Docs or via e-mail? No, that is not allowed. The Easy Access Agreement only applies to sharing this material on Brightspace. Any other dissemination of copyrighted material to students constitutes a copyright infringement, for which you yourself are responsible and liable

Foundation UvO distinguishes between short extracts, medium extracts and long extracts. Short and medium extracts are included in the Easy Access Agreement, long extracts are not.

  • A short extract is 8,000 words for an article and 10,000 words for part of a book. Translated into pages we use a limit of 25 pages for a short extract.
  • A medium extract is more than 8,000 words for an article. For a book of 200 pages or more, the limit for a medium extract is 40 pages. The limit of 40 pages is new; this used to be 50 pages.
  • For a book of less than 200 pages, this limit is 20% of the total number of pages. The limit of 20% is new; this used to be 25%.

Why is there a difference between a short and a medium extract? The short extract has a cheaper price per page than the medium extract. YOu can find all page prices on the website of Foundation UvO (only in Dutch).

As a teacher, you are not expected to count the words of your extracts. However, it is important that you keep an eye on the page limit (40 pages or 20% total number of pages) of all the extracts you place on Brightspace. Do you want to place more than 40 pages of a book on Brightspace? Then you have to ask permission from Stichting UvO in advance through a portal. Login is possible through a registration number that can be obtained from the UFB department.

You fill in the requested data via the portal (data of the publication, number of pages and number of students per course ID). You will then receive a separate invoice from the UvO Foundation for this acquisition according to the rates applied

Please bear in mind that the costs for a long extract may be high and that you may need prior permission from your institute or faculty. You may therefore wish to consider the following alternatives.

Laws and jurisprudence are exempt from copyright. You may copy them on Brightspace without any problem. For case law, this only applies to the version as published by the judiciary in its original state. This does not apply to jurisprudence that has been enriched by a publisher with notes or summaries written by third parties. Government publications are protected by copyright, but may be copied free of charge, unless the publication itself states that this is not permitted.

Instead of placing articles and book chapters on Brightspace, you can link to the material. What exactly can you link to? Is the material digitally available in the UBL Catalogue or is it available on a publication platform? Then you can link to it. You can find help in creating a stable link on our webpage Linking to library resources.  

Can the material be found on the Internet? Then you can place the link to it in Brightspace. Tip for easier Internet searching: place the title of the article or book chapter between double inverted commas in the Google search bar, like this: "title article". However, you are not allowed to link to illegal websites, such as PirateBay. Is material published in open access? These publications can also be found on the Internet and you can link to them.

Are publications that your students need to study not digitally available in the Catalogue but they are available as paper books or journals in one of Leiden's libraries? Then you can ask your subject librarian to put together a course reserve.

The publications concerned will be placed there and will not be lent out during the course. Students can study the publications in the library or choose to make a (digital) copy of the material for personal use. A paper copy should then be limited to part of the work. From a magazine: one article only. From a book: a small section. If the book is no longer for sale and out of print, the entire book may be copied (Article 16b Dutch Copyright Act). Making a digital copy is not subject to any restrictions: students paid the copyright fee when they bought the device (Article 16c Dutch Copyright Act). You can read more on our dedicated webpage on Course reserves.  

All publications which are digitally available in the UBL Catalogue can be used to compile a reading list. Please contact your subject librarian if you would like to do this.

To request a digital lecture shelf, you can visit the dedicated webpage on Course reserves.  

The above-mentioned Easy Access Agreement or Reader Agreement offers teachers the possibility to compile a reader via ReaderOnline.

If the reader consists of only short and medium extracts, the costs are included in the redemption fee that Leiden University pays to Foundation UvO. When part of the reader consists of a long extract, these costs are paid for by the student.

Therefore, if you are considering making a long extract available to your students, we recommend that you choose ReaderOnline. However, you must request permission from Foundation UvO in advance. You should not place the material you offer in ReaderOnline on Brightspace, too. This would result in double payment (by the student and by the faculty). ReaderOnline allows students to view the reader digitally in their own ReaderOnline environment and to pick up a paper copy at various locations.

On the Staff Members Portal you can find information on how to apply for ReaderOnline and how to request permission from Foundation UvO for a long extract.

Teachers often use a presentation in PowerPoint, Prezi or other presentation tool. They show the presentation during their lecture and post it later as a document on Brightspace. The copyright on the presentation rests with the teacher/university. The presentation therefore does not have to be placed in the LOR. However, the presentation may also 'import' material (images, photos, diagrams, schedules, charts, etc.) from third parties and the copyright on this imported material rests with these third parties. However, the Citation Exception of Article 15a of the Dutch Copyright Act may apply.

The Citation Exception implies that a (small) part of the copyrighted work of another (the maker) may be used in one's own work. Permission of the maker is not required. Nor does the maker have to be paid for this use. The quote must be functional and may not serve as decoration. The quote must also be proportional and subordinate to the teacher’s argument and plea. As far as reasonably possible, the source, including the name of the maker, must be clearly stated.

How do we convert these legal requirements into a teacher’s presentation?

  • For each image, state the source (book title, magazine name + issue) and the name of the maker (author).
  • Use no more than 2, at most 3 images from the same source, i.e. from the same book or from the same journal issue.
  • Use no more than 2, at most 3 photos by one and the same photographer and no more than 2, at most 3 works of art by one and the same artist.
  • Is the image taken from the internet? State the source and the name of the maker (author), and provide the URL link.

The first requirement in particular is very important. If you comply with the other three requirements, but do not mention the source and name of the maker, your use of the images does not fall under the Citation Exception and Leiden University will have to pay -unnecessarily- for your use of them.

Do you use more than 3 images per source in your presentation? In that case, Leiden University must pay Foundation UvO for this use via the Easy Access Agreement. Unless you are using images that are made available in open access, for example with a Creative Commons license, then the use is unlimited. Please always mention below the image: the URL link to the image, the name of the maker and the CC licence under which the image may be used.

Do you use an image and do not mention the source and the name? Then the Citation Exception does not apply and unfortunately Foundation UvO has to be paid for this use. You can therefore avoid unnecessary costs by acknowledging the source and name of all images used in your presentation.

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