Educational material and copyright

Educational materials are under copyright. Educational materials include articles, images, videos (web lectures) or (parts of) a book or magazine. For the use of these materials in teaching, educational institutions have often made special arrangements with the copyright holders. If this is not the case, you can still use copyright-protected material, usually for a reasonable fee. 

Using image and sound

Material in class or instruction

You may show or play material without the permission of the holder of the rights if it has an educational purpose. There must be no profit motive. This applies to films, videos and television programmes, music and sound recordings and still images such as photographs and works of art. The presentation must be part of the educational programme (included in the teaching/learning plan) and take place physically within the educational institution itself or via an online lecture.

Please note: if the presentation is recorded and posted on Brightspace, for example, more stringent rules apply (see below)!

Material in a reader or on Brightspace

Institutions can take out licences for the use of specific copyright-protected (educational) material in teaching. The conditions of such a licence describe what may or may not be copied in the (digital) learning environment.


Sometimes you are more liberal in your use of copyrighted material. It may be distributed under a general licence. In that case, the licence determines the conditions under which you can use the material. Material may, for example, be available as Open Access. Open Access stands for free access to and free use of material. Open Access material can, for example, be made available under a Creative Commons licence.

There are six different Creative Commons licences. They range from restricted to free use of the material. It is therefore important to always check the Creative Commons licence before using the material to see what is allowed. More information on CC licences can be found at Creative Commons Nederland.

Including links is always allowed

In principle, you need permission (e.g. a licence) before you can publish or reproduce copyright-protected material. A distinction is made between material you use in a presentation - e.g. a (digital) lecture or study group - and material you place on Brightspace or in a paper reader.

Linking is always allowed, provided the material has been lawfully made public. As a teacher, you are responsible for linking to material that has been lawfully made public. Note: if you cut and paste information from a website, the information will be reused and multiplied. This requires you to take copyright into account. When reusing information, always mention the source (even if it is Open Access material).

The Copyright Information Point recommends linking to material purchased or subscribed to by Radboud University (for which a licence has been obtained from the publisher). Below is how to correctly link to this material. You can link directly to articles that are freely accessible on the Internet, without additional actions.

Material you created by yourself

You can also use materials you created by yourself, of which you or Radboud University are the copyright holder. Again, be sure to mention the source (i.e. yourself and Radboud University). 

Using texts and images 

Easy access regulation

For university and higher professional education, arrangements have been made with Stichting UvO. You can find the arrangement for WO on the website of Stichting UvO. This concerns the use of texts and images. This use is subject to the conditions in the Easy Access Regulations.

You may use texts and images under the following conditions:

  • You may copy a maximum of 40 pages and no more than 20% of the entire work.
  • A correct reference to the source is compulsory.
  • The regulation applies to both printed and digital educational materials.
  • There is no maximum on the number of images you may use, for example in a Powerpoint presentation.
  • However, there are two conditions: a maximum of 25 images from one work (e.g. a book) and a maximum of 10 works by one and the same author.
  • You may not spread parts of a publication over several readers for the same course (stacking).

If you want to copy more, you need permission from the copyright holder. This can be done in various ways:

  • For a longer reproduction, you need to request permission in advance from the UvO Foundation via a standard form. This involves additional costs.
  • Alternatively, as a teacher you can ask permission from the copyright holder, e.g. the author or publisher. Make sure to keep the written permission (e.g. by letter or e-mail).

The quotation right

The right to quote allows you to use part of a text or an entire image without the permission of the creator, provided you carefully refer to the source. When you quote from copyright-protected material, you do not have to pay a fee either. The right to quote includes quoting verbatim from the work as well as paraphrasing (rephrase) that work.

The condition is that a quotation:

  • serves a purpose. The law lists the following purposes: an announcement, an assessment, a polemic or a scientific treatise.
  • is proportionate; you may not quote more than necessary.
  • the source (including the author's name) is mentioned.
  • comes from a work that has been lawfully disclosed.

The right to quote can also apply when an image is used as substantive support for a scientific discourse or in education. The condition is that the illustration is a relevant addition, not a funny or amusing picture for decorative purposes. For example, a picture of any mill in a treatise on mills is not an image citation. If the essay is about a specific mill and you show a small picture of that mill, the right to quote does apply. The photo may not take precedence in your essay. A large photo with two sentences about what can be seen on it is not a valid quote. In fact, the quote must also be proportional. Furthermore, a picture quote should be properly acknowledged as a source and clearly recognisable as a quote, for instance by writing 'picture quote' next to it. Or put a frame around it like you use inverted commas when quoting text.

Making videos/weblectures

Ask permission in advance from the speaker and the audience (usually students) and tell how, where and to whom you want to make the video/weblecture public. Think in advance about reuse of the video/weblecture. For example, you can give it a Creative Commons licence. This way, you give others the opportunity to use it in a way you choose.

Portrait rights

You may only use commissioned photographs and film recordings that include people if you have written permission from both the photographer/videographer and the people portrayed, or if you have arranged for this through a licence. Non-commissioned photos and videos that feature people may only be used if you have permission from the photographer/videographer, or if this has been arranged via a licence and the use does not harm a reasonable interest of the persons portrayed. This reasonable interest means privacy or financial interests.

Copyright Information Point

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