Use of copyrighted educational 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. The University Library can help with the compilation of a reader or advise on the selection of educational resources. University of Twente policy is to link to online sources whenever possible. If there are no alternatives, please register copyrighted (parts of) works 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.  

  • Decision tree copyrighted course material

  • Guidelines for online environments

    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.

    Using (copyrighted) images
    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. For info on using copyrighted images, check out the FAQ. 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 at the publishers'websites. Here, publishers often specify rules for downloading or printing e-books or articles.

    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.

    You can find a (Dutch) manual on how to register longer excerpts on UvO has a cost table on their website.

    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, like APA. 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. For more info, see our page on referencing.

  • Linking to prevent copyright violation

    Linking to accessible online material is the best and easiest way to provide students with sources. As long as the material you refer to was not illegally uploaded, linking (or alternatively; embedding) ensures there’s no violation of copyright rules. In general we can distinguish four types of hyperlinks, ranked here in order of reliability: 

    This is a persistent link or permalink made with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), that is usually available for online scientific sources. The unique DOI can be found in (or at the website of) the publication, and can be added to to make the persistent link. 

    Another kind of permalink can be generated by UT systems and databases, like FindUT. Using these persistent links means you don’t have to check them each year or if the website changes; the link always redirects to the correct source location. 

    Shortlinks (e.g. Google URL or can also be persistent, are useful to shorten long URLs, and sometimes offer additional benefits like keeping track how often the link is used. 

    Lastly we have standard URLs, as often used when referring to websites. One disadvantage is that they are more susceptible to link rot, like when a website is moved or restructured. 

    Note: On campus, students and teachers have access to all the library’s sources. To facilitate off-campus access, you can put  before the hyperlink. For example: 

  • Guidelines 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
    Click here for a Dutch manual on registering longer excerpts.

  • Estimating the number of words & pages

    In the guidelines explained above, a maximum number of words or pages that may be included in a reader is frequently referred to. To help you estimate how many words the (part of a) work you want to use contains, see the information presented below: 

    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.

  • Easy Access Agreement and FAQ

    As of 2017, the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) 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).

    Note: Some additional FAQ can be found on the website of PRO (in Dutch).

    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.

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