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Copyright for teachers

Make books and articles accessible in readers or digital learning environments for students and comply with the requirements of copyright law.

When you use texts, text extracts or images for teaching, please be aware of the applicable requirements dealing with Copyright Law. In order to make copyright protected work available to your students in a digital learning environment (or another digital platform) or in a printed course pack, you need to obtain prior permission from the copyright holders.

The collective administration on behalf of copyright holders is taken care of by the so called Stichting UvO (Uitgeversorganisatie voor Onderwijslicenties, previously the PRO foundation). UvO and VSNU have made an agreement to deal with teaching materials. Stichting UvO has been authorized by many publishers to handle requests made against standard terms

The Reader Agreement is an agreement between the VSNU and UvO and applies to:

  • printed course packs
  • digital course packs (a single file containing two or more articles)
  • separate extracts offered in an electronic learning environment such as Blackboard or another digital learning application.

Recommended: re-use without costs

When you wish to reuse materials in teaching, please be aware of Copyright Law and possible costs that may be involved. We recommend you use the four options listed below to implement materials in your course. In all four cases you are always obliged to cite and refer correctly.

We ask you to work as much as possible with these 4 options, as they are free of charge.

  1. Linking to articles, books, or book chapters is always allowed, provided that these are legally obtainable. We advise you to use linking rather than to place a pdf file in Blackboard. A link is not considered to be equal to an extract and therefore the Reader Agreement does not apply to linking. You can read more about how to link on this dedicated page.
  2. Use licensed materials form Leiden University’s Digital Library: a number of publishers permit articles or chapters to be included in printed or digital readers for the purposes of education. The module Usage regulations licensed e-resources indicates the publishers policy.
    When you use these materials, there is no need to count words or images, and articles may be reused for teaching without any problems. Please note: a publisher’s policy may change. Check regularly whether use in Blackboard is still permitted, as fines are high! We therefore still recommend to link to articles instead of posting the entire article in Blackboard.
  3. Open Access publications that have been published with a Creative Commons-license can be used in Blackboard without any costs. By applying a Creative Commons-license, the author explicitly allows reuse, sometimes under certain conditions. These conditions are specified in the version of the Creative Commons-license. You should always give credit, attribution, to the original author. You can also use the Creative Commons website to search for sources that are free of copyright: these can be texts, images, but also music and video.
  4. Raw government publications and case law are exempted from copyright. This applies to case law in its original form, as it was made available by the court. Therefore, this does not apply to verdicts collected and published by a publisher. The legislation has the same status: only legislation from the Staatscourant, the Staatsblad, and the Tractatenblad can be freely copied in Blackboard. 

Short extracts: up to 50 pages an at maximum 25% of the work (Easy Access Agreement)

If you can not reuse the material without costs and you have no alternative available free of charge, you can use an extract of the work, thereby using the text (for instance as a pdf file) in Blackboard or in a reader.

Extracts up to 50 pages and at maximum 25% of the work are covered by the Easy Access Agreement with Stichting UvO. This arrangement applies to short and medium sized extracts. Use of these extracts does not require you to ask permission or to pay a fee. In the past, you had to count the number of words: this is no longer required. The agreement includes an arrangement for literary works, sheet music, graphs, tables, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations.

Even though there is no need to ask for permission in the case of short extracts, we still recommend you use the four options mentioned above, if this is at all possible. Please keep in mind that Leiden University does pay in the end as part of a pre-arranged payment scheme. Part of the Easy Access Agreement between UvO (then PRO) and VSNU is a provision requiring us to decrease the number of extracts with 5% each year. Failing to comply will lead to fines for the universities.

Longer extracts "niet-korte overnames" (more than 50 pages or 25% of the work)

Extracts containing more than 50 pages or 25% of the work (‘niet-korte overnames’) are dealt with in different slots (see below). It pays off to make an effort to check whether or not the work is part of the licensed e-resources held by the Library (see above). If publishers’ consent is part of a license agreement, you are not required to seek permission from UvO.

For longer extracts the following procedures apply:

  • First of all you seek permission. Stichting UvO has a dedicated portal in which you can do so. You need a registration number to log in, which you may obtain from the UFB (readers@ufb.leidenuniv.nl).
  • You provide the required data for the extract clearly (information about the source, number of pages, number of students in the course).
  • You will receive an invoice for the extract in which you will find a calculated fee.
  • You set aside a proof copy of the course pack for monitoring purposes.

To summarize, first you seek permission, then you pay a fee. The fee is compiled according to the following formula:

(Number of pages) X (page charge) X (impression =number of students participating in the course)

UvO makes its fees available on its website. The charges for longer extracts may be high and will be paid for by the institutes. They can not be charged to students. For this reason, we recommend a printed course pack when you use longer extracts. The Service Desk at UFB will in that case deal with payment to Stichting UvO and costs can be charged to students as part of the price of the printed course pack.

The following slots apply to longer extracts:

  • More than 25%, up to ⅓: you will receive immediate permission after your application via the portal.
  • More than ⅓, up to 50%: Stichting UvO will negotiate with the publisher on your behalf, unless the book is no longer for sale; in the latter case you can seek permission directly by means of portal provided by Stichting UvO.
  • More than 50%: Stichting UvO facilitates the application on your behalf.

You can find more information in the actual Agreement.

What has changed with regards to the old agreement?

Is it correct that:

  • I no longer have to upload a proof copy? Yes!
  • I no longer need to count words? Yes!
  • I can use longer extracts in comparison to the older agreement? Yes!

Video and audio

  1. Fair Use rules allow you to quote images, works of art, photographs and short video and audio fragments and reuse these in Blackboard. Quotes must be functional, and can not only be used merely to liven up Blackboard.
  2. The embedding of materials such as videos is allowed in Blackboard only if the material was legally published and freely accessible on another site.
  3. You can always use links. Provided that the content was legally posted, linking to images, videos, or other material online is always allowed! 
  4. Always indicate the correct source for each type of file in Blackboard. As far as is reasonably possible the source, including the maker’s name, has to be clearly indicated.
  5. Images with a license that allows re-use (Creative Commons e.g.) can always be posted on Blackboard. You can search for these images through Google Images > Advanced Image Search (select ‘labeled for reuse’ under Usage Rights). More information on the Creative Commons licenses. 
  6.  When using your own materials, you can upload these to a restricted environment or in the public domain.

We are happy to answer your questions via email: auteursrecht@library.leidenuniv.nl or you can call us at ++ 31 71 527 2814

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