Copyright law for lecturers

Easy Access regulations

If you want to reuse copyrighted material for educational purposes, for example on Canvas, you should keep certain articles of copyright law in mind. If possible, use the methods described below to reuse material for free.

If the material you require is not freely available, you can benefit from the Easy Access regulations (previously known as the Reader Agreement) of the Dutch Publication and Reproduction Rights Organisation (PRO Foundation). Bear in mind that the costs are borne by VU Amsterdam. To keep the citation fees manageable, you are requested to limit yourself as much as possible to brief extracts.

Three ways to reuse content in your teaching for free

1. Use and link to journals for which the University Library has a licence
As part of their licensing policies, many (but not all!) publishing companies allow the reuse of content in paper readers and/or electronic learning environments. Most of the journals for which the University Library has a licence are available online. In that case, you should provide a link to the journal. Please note: you are not permitted to save the text (as a PDF file) to the digital learning environment or print it as part of a reader, as this would constitute an act of publication. Read the guide ‘Linking to sources from Canvas’ to find out how to link correctly.

List of licences on Canvas
The University Library will publish a list of licences on Canvas, like the UvA already does. This list will provide an overview of all the journals for which the University Library has a licence, stating whether you may include articles or chapters in readers or on Canvas.

2. Check whether the publication is freely accessible online and link to that publication
Linking to articles or books that are freely accessible online is always permitted, provided this content has been made available legally. Posting a PDF file is not permitted!

3. Use Open Access/Open Educational Resources
More and more Open Access publications and Open Educational Resources are being made available. If these are subject to an open licence (such as Creative Commons), you can use them for free. Please contact your programme's subject librarian for advice.

Easy Access regulations – help us to keep costs low
In 2017, the PRO Foundation's Reader Agreement was replaced by the Easy Access regulations. These new PRO Foundation regulations cover two categories for which the citation fees have been paid: brief extracts and medium-length extracts.

Stick to the Brief extracts category: count words and images
To keep the citation fees manageable, you are kindly requested to limit yourself as much as possible to the maximum number of words for brief extracts. Count the number of words and images to check whether your extract still falls within the Brief extracts category. Brief extracts do not require prior permission, nor do you need to upload evidence.

Medium-length extracts (try to avoid)
For a medium-length extract, you may cite up to a maximum of 50 pages of a publication (book, article), up to a maximum of 25% of that publication. Prior permission is not required, nor do you need to upload evidence.

For more information, please visit (in Dutch only).

Long extracts
For long extracts, you need to obtain prior permission through the PRO Foundation. Payment is made after the fact by invoice (please check the rates) and evidence must be provided for checks.

Please note: the PRO Foundation has not yet revised the summary of the former Reader Agreement on its website. The agreement currently on their site does not apply to 2017.

Prevent fines
The PRO Foundation carries out spot checks. Regulatory breaches are punishable by a fine. Please always ensure the following:
- Proper source references for both brief and long extracts.
- Correct user numbers: indicate how many students have access to the extracts, not how many students actually use them.
Long extracts always require prior permission.

Questions or advice?
The PRO Foundation's website contains an overview of Frequently Asked Questions.
If you have any further questions or need advice, please contact Willemien van Dijk or Sylvia Moes