Use of copyrighted educational material

When selecting copyrighted material for students, it’s important to realize what is and is not allowed. In particular with regard to sharing material on Canvas. The policy of the University of Twente is to link to online sources whenever possible. For lecture slides it is recommended to only include pictures or other figures that have a licensed for reuse. 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 is linking to (legally accessible) material like e-books and scientific articles. The UT Faculties have agreed to a pro-linking policy. In practice this means sharing a DOI, 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.
    When you need to specify which parts of a source you want students to use, it’s often possible to link to specific book chapters (DOI example) or parts of a video (YouTube example). 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, the document can be replaced by a link to the document accessible for anyone. 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. Worth noticing, 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. Images are, just like text, copyright protected. Exceptions on copyright include the ‘citaatrecht’, click here (Dutch) or here (English) for additional information, or check out the FAQ. Independent of the use of the image, you need to reference the source.

    A lot of online (educational) resources have been made available for use under certain conditions because of a Creative Commons (CC) license. Many 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 Pixabay, Pexels, Pics4Learning, Google Images or Flickr to search for pictures with a license for reuse. Via Wikimedia Commons you can find imagesvideo and audio that, depending on the license used, can be used as educational resources. Although made freely available, you will still need to cite the source.

    These licenses can also very easily be applied for 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 a publisher’s policy at the publishers’ websites. Here, publishers often specify rules for downloading or printing e-books or articles. If you can’t include the article, try to link to the document as described above.

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

    Easy Access Agreement

    Short excerpts
    If the above 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. If you want to place parts of texts on Canvas, it counts as a ‘short excerpt’ if it meets the following conditions:

    1. Book: a maximum of 10,000 words, but not more than one third of the work;
    2. Journal: a maximum of 8,000 words
    3. 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 possible compensation apply as with short excerpts.

    Other excerpts
    Long excerpts must remain rare exceptions. These excerpts are associated with significant cost when placed on Canvas as they are not part of the Easy Access agreement. 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 Stichting UvO is required, as well as additional compensation. You can make use of their web portal to request permission.

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

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

    Referencing and permission

    ALWAYS reference the original source and author, when using excerpts, images and other copyright protected sources (e.g. screenshots), including in your PowerPoints! This can be done in any referencing style, 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.

    Download this quick reference guide in PDF format in Dutch or English.

    For more information and assistance in the process of selecting educational material, 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.

  • Linking to prevent copyright violation

    Linking to accessible online material is the best and easiest way to share information with students. 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 type of permalink can be generated by UT systems and databases, like FindUT. When using these persistent links, the link always redirects to the correct source location.

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

    Last, 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. 

    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). The UnionShop takes care of the distribution of printed readers.

    Because most material is electronically available and linking is the preferable option to share information with student, 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 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

  • Estimating the number of words & pages

    The guidelines explained above frequently mention the maximum number of words or pages that can be included in a reader. Below some information on how to calculate these numbers.

    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 count the average number of words per line and the average number of lines per page and calculate 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.

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