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Readers -Inclusion of copyrighted course material

When selecting copyrighted material for your students, it’s important to realise what is and is not allowed, especially with regard to sharing material on Canvas. See our flowchart for a quick overview. The Library can help with the compilation of a reader or advise on the selection of educational resources. UT policy is to always link to online sources whenever possible. If there are no alternatives, please register copyrighted files that you wish to share with your students. For lecture slides it is recommended to only include pictures or other figures that are licensed for use, and always acknowledge the maker by referencing correctly.

Given the current COVID-19 situation it is especially important students can access academic content off-campus. Paste ( in front of hyperlinks like DOIs to online papers or books to ensure students can still access them. Click here for more tips on access and working from home.

Easy Access Agreement and FAQ

As of 2017, the Dutch universities (VSNU) and PRO have a new agreement on the use of copyrighted material for educational purposes: the Easy Access agreement. PRO is a non-profit organisation concerned with publication and reproduction rights in The Netherlands. It is estimated that university lecturers make too much unlawful use of copyrighted material. Paper readers have mostly been replaced by digital resources in education. The UT wants its lecturers to become aware of the selection and inclusion of copyrighted materials in their education.

The new agreement doesn’t concern your own unpublished lecture slides or assignments, but materials like book chapters and scientific articles that are shared in a reader or on Canvas.

If you wish to include works of others as part of your teaching material, then the most simple and also safe option is: linking. Simply refer to a publication via a DOI or other hyperlink, instead of uploading a PDF on Canvas or giving students a printed-out copy of a book chapter. That way, you don’t need to worry about the rights, and you don’t have to officially register the material as an excerpt with PRO.

If linking isn’t possible or convenient, check if use of the material is allowed under certain conditions. Examples of this are open-access sources, material with Creative Commons licenses, or agreements with individual publishers. It can also be worthwhile to see if the material can be purchased and made accessible for students via the University Library.

When none of the methods above are possible and use of the copyrighted material is really necessary, it will probably concern an excerpt (‘overname’). For excerpts, registration and compensation are required. For a limited amount of short and medium excerpts a lump sum has been paid. This entails the use of part of a copyrighted work (e.g. a book chapter), as long as it’s fewer than 50 pages and at most 25% of the entire work. There is also a maximum of 25 images, figures and tables from the same original work, and these count as half a page each. For longer excerpts, registration, a higher compensation, and explicit permission from PRO are required.

Since 2019 the agreement transferred from PRO to Stichting UvO. A check for compliance is scheduled to happen in this academic year (’19-’20).

For more information and assistance in the process of selecting educational material, see the rules and flowchart in the next section, check out the FAQ, or contact Info Point Readers or the Information Specialist of your faculty. For more in-depth information on this subject, visit our website on copyright.

Rules for digital educational resources

These concern the reuse of digital material for educational purposes, typically in a digital learning environment (DLE) like Canvas.

Linking to material
The best option by far is linking to (legally accessible) material like e-books and scientific articles. UT Faculties have agreed to a pro-linking policy. In practice this could mean sharing a DOI with students, or a link to articles or e-books in the University Library collection. The same goes for videos, for example from Vimeo or YouTube. See the FAQ for tips on creating a good hyperlink.
You may need to specify which parts of the source you want students to use if you link to the full text, and it’s often possible to link to specific book chapters (DOI example) or parts of a video (YouTube example). Note that embedding is also a form of linking, and you can even embed videos in PowerPoint or on Canvas.

Open Access publications
If a publication is Open Access, it’s often allowed to be included entirely in a printed or digital reader. This also applies to accessible articles in the UT repository. If a publication is Open Access, it’s typically mentioned on the title page or the publisher’s website, as well as its license for reuse. It’s also worth noting that most governmental information and case law are not copyrighted.

Visual material and licenses
We often share figures, pictures and videos during our lectures, for explanatory or aesthetic purposes. Be aware that copyright also plays a role in these situations. You may need to reference materials and ask permission to use it. Fortunately, a lot of online (educational) resources have been made available for use under certain conditions because of a Creative Commons (CC) license. If you find, for example, a video on Vimeo licensed CC BY-NC-SA, it means you can use the video for non-commercial (NC) purposes, and even edit and redistribute it, as long as you credit the makers (BY) and use the same license (Share Alike) for any new uses of the work.

CC SearchA lot of CC licensed material can be found online, for example via CC Search, or their page on finding Open Educational Resources (OERs).

You can also use PixabayPexels or Pics4Learning to search for licensed pictures. Google Images or Flickr can be used as well to explicitly look for such images. Via Wikimedia Commons you can find imagesvideo and audio that, depending on the license used, can also be used as educational resources.

Note: These licenses can also very easily be applied by yourself, if you want to share material that you made (of which you are also the copyright holder).

Journal articles
Journal articles from certain publishers may be included in their entirety in a printed or digital reader. You can check publisher’s policy in the publishers list. You could also use the license list from the University of Amsterdam (Dutch only).

Publishers often specify rules for downloading or printing e-books or articles. You can check this with Info Point Readers.

Note: A publisher’s policy can change. Check regularly whether inclusion is still permitted, to prevent violation of the rules! 

Inclusion of short excerpts
If the aforementioned methods are not an option, you can include so-called ‘short excerpts’ of the copyrighted material. With the Easy Access agreement, all Dutch Universities have paid a lump sum for a finite amount of short excerpts, so registration is required. If you want to place parts of texts on Canvas it counts as a ‘short excerpt’ if it meets the following conditions:

  1. From a book: a maximum of 10,000 words, but not more than one third of the work;
  2. From a journal: a maximum of 8,000 words
  3. From a literary work: a maximum of 2,500 words of prose or 100 lines of poetry;
  4. Graphs, tables, diagrams, photographs and illustrations count for 200 words. A maximum of 25 of these ‘units’ can be used from one original work.

Medium excerpts
Included in the Easy Access agreement are so-called ‘medium excerpts’. These are longer than short excerpts (see above), but less than 50 pages and at most 25% of the full book or journal. The same rules on registration (and possible compensation) apply as with short excerpts.

Other excerpts
If you want to include ‘other excerpts’ (i.e. not short or medium; previously known as ‘long excerpts’) as educational material, then explicit permission from PRO (now Stichting UvO) is required, as well as additional compensation. You can make use of their webportal to request permission.

Cost table UvO (in Dutch)

The full new Easy Access agreement can be found here.

It is often possible to purchase an e-book version of a book. If the work can be purchased by the University and be made accessible to students via a link, this is usually the easier (and sometimes cheaper) option.

Referencing and permission
Finally, always reference the original source and author, with shared excerpts but also images and other figures in your PowerPoints!
This can be done in a number of referencing styles, for example according to APA (pdf). If use of the source is allowed because of licenses or publisher agreements (see before), always mention the terms of use or that you have permission.

Flowchart - Inclusion of publications for education

Rules for printed readers

The rules for printed educational resources, like in readers, are the same as the rules for digital resources (see above). Please also register physical copyrighted materials you wish to use. The UnionShop takes care of the distribution of printed readers.

Because linking (i.e. providing students with a link to accessible online material) is often the easiest and cheapest option, and most material nowadays is electronically available, paper readers can be regarded as a less preferable option. One consideration in support of printed readers, however, is that the additional costs associated with longer excerpts can be partly or completely recouped from students that want to buy the reader.

As with electronic materials (see also the flowchart), if you wish to print a reader with more than 50 pages or >50% of the original work, permission from the publisher is required. You can contact Stichting UvO about registering the reader directly via

Count words

Keep an eye on the maximum permitted length!

In the rules for short excerpts, the maximum number of words that may be included are specified.

Book part
Rough guide: an average page from a book contains a maximum of 400 words. When about 25 pages of non-literary work are used, you are approaching the maximum permitted limit of 10.000 words.

For journals and other periodicals, it is not possible to indicate an average. The use of columns can considerably increase the amount of words per page. The maximum limit of 8000 words is sometimes reached in just 10 pages.

There are a number of methods available for calculating the number of words in digital files. Microsoft Word, for example, offers Word Count. On Word Count Tool you can find a tool for use with PDF documents. However, this does not work with so-called picture-PDF. In these cases, you will have to calculate the average number of words per line and the average number of lines per page and from there, the average number of words.

All words must be counted!
If you have extracts in a reader which contain non-relevant pages or paragraphs (for example, because they are copied together with the relevant text) then those words must also be included in the total. Even if the non-relevant parts have been crossed out they must be included if they remain visible in any way. Headings, footnotes and notes must be counted too.

Images, graphs, tables and figures
Note that for short excerpts, any image, graph, table or figure from a work counts as 200 words. For medium excerpts, often consisting of pages with both text and images, any kind of figure counts as half a page. For both these kinds of excerpts, the upper limit of 25 figures from one original source applies.

Need help

For all of your questions about readers and the use of texts, images, film and audio fragments in education you can approach the Info Point Readers. This is located at the University Library’s information counter (InfoUB), which is in the Vrijhof.

The University Library (LISA) offers free advice about the rules and checks on readers and can assist in retrieving required articles/books (Loan and/or purchase charges are levied) or check for alternatives.

The Faculties themselves are responsible for compliance with these agreements. Each Faculty has appointed persons to deal with these matters, and some study programmes have arranged for support by student assistants to monitor or register the use of copyrighted educational materials.






Faculty responsibility

Vice-Dean Education (Ciano Aydin)

Managing Director (David Korringa)

Managing Director (Stephan Maathuis)

Vice-Dean Education (Freek van der Meer)

Managing Director (Christy Schoonheijt-Oude Veldhuis)

Faculty contact

Henk Boer

Nico Rutten

Erik Faber

Ivan Oliveira

Alexandra Elbersen

LISA contact

Peter Noort

Luuk van Ewijk

Petri de Willigen

Katinka Jager-Ringoir

Hanneke Becht

Contact details Info Point Readers:
Telephone: +31 (0)53 489 2777

Visitors address:
Library service counter Vrijhof
Building: Vrijhof (building no. 47 on Map UT campus)

Postal address:
Info Point Readers
Universiteitsbibliotheek Vrijhof
Postbus 217
7500 AE Enschede