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Copyright for teachers

Make books and articles accessible for students within the requirements of copyright law.

If you are considering using text extracts, images and other content in a course pack there is a strong likelihood that this is covered by Copyright Law. The Reader Agreement is an agreement between the VSNU and the PRO Foundation and indicates which part of a text may be used without permission from the copyright owner.  The agreement applies to:

  • printed course packs
  • digital course packs
  • separate offered in an electronic learning environment such as Blackboard

No permission required

  • Linking to articles, books, or book chapters is always allowed, provided that these are legally obtainable. Is the publication available in Leiden University’s Digital Library? Then create a link
  • A number of publishers permits 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. Please note: publisher’s policy can change. Check regularly whether use in Blackboard is still permitted. We therefore recommend to link to articles instead of posting the entire article in Blackboard. 
  • Open Access Publications, such as articles without embargo in the Leiden Repository, can be used without further permission.
  • 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. So this does not apply to verdicts collected and published by a publisher. The same goes for legislation: only legislation from the Staatscourant, the Staatsblad, and the Tractatenblad can be freely copied in Blackboard. 

Permission is also not necessary when use is limited to:

  • Non-fiction book: a maximum of 10.000 words and no more than a third of the complete work, or: a maximum of 50 pages and no more than 25% of the complete work
  • Journals: a maximum of 8000 words, or : a maximum of 50 pages and no more than 25% of the instalment in question
  • Literary works: a maximum of 100 lines of poetry or 2500 words of prose; but no more than a tenth of the complete work. 
  • The publication of an oral presentation in the context of a ceremony of an educational institution (for example an inaugural lecture).
  • Sheet music: a song text: up to one couplet and one chorus; musical notation: a maximum of five note bars.
  • Graphs, tables, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations: a maximum of 25 figures from the same original work. If a graph or illustration is copied as part of a text, the image counts for 200 words. 

Note: an average page contains 400 words. Helpful tools to count words are Microsoft Wordcount listed under Tools in Word and the site Worldcounttools which counts words in uploaded pdf-files.

Permission required

If you would like to use materials which do not comply with above conditions permission from the PRO foundation is required.  The PRO Foundation is authorized by many publishers to handle requests made against standard terms. First submit an application for approval through the PRO Foundation portal. A registration number to login to this portal is available at the UFB Service Desk (readers@ufb.leidenuniv.nl). The portal also has a digital word counter. PRO Foundation will then send an invoice. 
If the PRO Foundation cannot handle consent application itself, the permission request is forwarded to the appropriate publisher, or returned to the applicant. 

The cost of consent for extracts can be very high and are borne by the institute. It is highly recommended to opt for a printed reader in these cases. The Service Desk will arrange the remittance to the PRO Foundation and the costs are passed on to the students in the reader price.

Video and audio

  1. Linking to images, videos, or other material online is always allowed! 
  2. Images with a licence 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 licences
  3. 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. 
  4. The embedding of materials such as videos is allowed in Blackboard only if the material is legally published and freely accessible on another site. 
  5. 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.