Studying and Student life

Copyright Information Point

What is copyright?

Copyright is a law-provided guarantee for the author, giving the author the rights on his or her work. The copyright is a so-called 'excluding' or 'exclusive' right. As author you yourself decide what happens with your work and you have the exclusive right to exploit your work.

The legislator describes the copyright in article 1 of the Copyright Act as follows:

The exclusive right of the author of a piece of literature, science or art or of his assignees, to publish or multiply it, except for the limitations set by the law

The Copyright Act has been drawn up in 1912 and adjusted various times to technical developments and harmonization of the European Union (2004) and international copyright treaties. On the one hand you as a scientist want to protect your publications against abuse. On the other hand you also want to use other authors' work in your own work. The basic idea of copyright is that your personality rights and exploitation rights are being respected.

Personality rights

The law protects you as author of a work by assigning you the moral rights. These personality rights cannot be delegated to someone else. This way you as author can oppose against plagiarism by publishing your work without mentioning your name or under another name. As author you can also protest against making name changes or against drastic adaptions that can harm your good name.

Exploitation rights

Copyright assigns you as author the exclusive right to publish and multiply a work. These rights are called exploitation rights.

You will often have assigned (part of) your rights to a publisher or have made your publisher a licensee. Your work's exploitation rights can also automatically belong to your employer, for instance for educational material.

By retaining certain rights as author, you can have more control on the reach, the distribution and the accessibility of your own (published) material. You will often receive the publisher's consent when you want to exercise a specific right, but you have to gear to one another. Some publishers will request you to consent to publish your publication, still leaving you as author the full owner of the publication and the related rights.

The most important rights you will want to retain, are:

  • the right to reuse an article for insertion in a book;
  • the right to rewrite and adjust an article;
  • the right to distribute the article among colleagues;
  • the right to copy your article for lecture purposes;
  • the right to have an article deposited in a repository.

The Tilburg University situation

The basic rule of the Copyright Act and the collective labour agreement applies when you as Tilburg University researcher publish on research being executed at Tilburg University. This means that the employer in whose employ the work is realized owns the copyright. Other, preferably written, agreements can be made in consultation. Tilburg University or a representative should be the person to e.g. sign a contract with a publisher.

In practice this often works differently. The author negotiates with the publisher and also signs the contract.

Where and how do you want to publish?

When you want to publish in a journal, think carefully about what exactly you want.

  • Do you choose for a regular or traditional journal, for an Open Access journal, or do you have the possibility of choosing a hybrid journal?
  • Do you use the publisher's standard agreement, do you sign a contract, do you negotiate on retaining your copyrights or do you use a license?

Below you read more on the various aspects when publishing in a journal and in a PhD thesis.

Publish in a traditional journal

The traditional publishers such as for instance Elsevier or Blackwell, usually have a contract or standard agreement to publish an article. You certainly are not obliged just to sign a standard agreement. Be clear in what you want and ask your publisher to incorporate that in the contract. It will often be a matter of negotiation.

Publish in an open access journal

By publishing in an Open Access (OA) journal you can retain all copyrights and make your article available for a wider audience. You find more information on OA on the Open Access website of LIS.


OA publishing often involves expenses because the publisher cannot claim his income from subscriptions or from pay-per-view calls, for an OA-publication is free for the reader. The expenses vary per journal and/or publisher between $ 500.- and $ 3,000.- and are paid by the author. When you know in advance that you want to publish the article in an OA-journal, you should mind to include the expenses for OA publication in the research budget.

Hybrid journals

Some journals offer authors the possibility to choose between publishing in the traditional way and publishing in OA. These are the so-called hybrid journals

Open Access journals

Open Access journals are peer reviewed journals in which each article in each issue is free for the reader. In the Directory of Open Access Journals you find a survey of all OA journals per field.

Publish about funded research

Many research funders now require grant recipients to make available the journal articles arising from work they fund, free of charge to any readers. This means that you are obliged to submit your research article to a repository or to publish it in an OA journal. Funders have introduced these requirement because they see communication and dissimination of results of research as an integral part of the research process.

You will find an overview of the OA policy of research funders in SHERPA/Juliet.

Publishing a PhD thesis

The information below is on copyright related to the digital publication of your thesis

When you own the copyright on the material included in your thesis, you can just have inserted your thesis' digital version in the Tilburg University Research Portal. The thesis is filed in the repository and receives a persistent URL you can always use to refer to your thesis. Your thesis will also be made available in NARCIS.

When a commercial edition of your thesis is published, inform your publisher you are obliged to deposit a digital version of the thesis in the university repository. Preferably do this in writing. You can possibly agree on an embargo period of 6 months or a year on digital publication of your thesis.

When a chapter from your thesis has already been published as article, making your digital thesis available in the repository or not, is often a matter of presentation. The publisher will not allow you to include his PDF in the thesis. However, do you use the latest file you sent to the publisher in the thesis (post-print in for instance Word or LateX) this will hardly cause any problems.

When you want to publish one or more chapters as article, it may be advised against with some publishers to publish these articles via the thesis' digital version before the articles have officially been accepted or published.

Copyright and teaching materials

Copyright protects the rights of the author, but there are some limitations on these rights. Legislation says that there must be some rules in favour of the public good, like the dissemination of (scientific) information. The most important limitation is the right to cite from a copyrighted work.

The most important rules for higher education to use material holding copyright, have been put down in article 15 and 16 of the Copyright Act. These articles describe when material can be used without the author's consent. Sometimes the user should pay the author a fair compensation, for instance when a work is included in a reader. In higher education this is arranged via the reader agreement of the Dutch Stichting PRO (Foundation PRO).

Scientific material can be used without permission (but at a reasonable charge) in order to:

  • teach with a scientific objective
  • cite from work, within the publication's context
  • borrow parts from publications for teaching
  • make copies of a work for personal practice, study or use

Use of materials in readers or Blackboard


The use of publications or parts of a publication in paper readers, digital readers or in an electronic learning environment is affected by regulations. The focus of these regulations is on the protection of the copyright owner, which in most cases is the publisher. Foundation PRO (Stichting PRO) acts as the representative of the publishers.

In 2017, the Dutch universities concluded a new agreement with the publishers and Stichting PRO about the reuse of copyright protected course material. With this new “Easy Access” agreement, a larger part of the reproductions is covered by a lump sum, which results in a reduction of the administrative burden for the universities. The new agreement runs until 2020.

Please note that each year Stichting PRO will review three universities to see whether they complied with the agreement. Therefore, it is important that you follow the rules, because violating the rules will result in financial consequences for all the universities!

The basis

The Easy Access agreement applies to

  • Printed readers
  • Digital readers (one file with two or more articles)
  • Electronic learning environment (Blackboard)

The use of texts is limited to a maximum of 50 pages and no more than 25% of the book or journal issue number. You do not need to report it and require permission and you do not need to upload a proof copy anymore.

For the use of longer texts, you have to request permission from Stichting PRO. If the text is less than 1/3 of the original work, then permission is granted immediately. If the text is larger than 1/3 of the original work, Stichting PRO will broker the payment with the copyright holder.

You can read more about the rules of the Easy Access agreement on the website of Stichting PRO. For the time being, the information on the website is only in Dutch.

Rules and guidelines for readers and Blackboard

  • The use of links is strongly recommended and preferred, provided that the material to which is linked has been published lawfully. No fee is due for linking to material and it never leads to additional penalties. Part of the Easy Access agreement is to promote the use of linking in order to reduce the total amount of PDFs.
  • Correct source citation is always required. The source citation includes the author, the title of the publication and the title of the source (book, journal). In the case of an article, you also include the volume and issue number.
  • Use Open Access publications as much as possible for Open Access eliminates the need for permission to reproduce and distribute content. However, the author of the publication should be acknowledged properly.
  • Whenever possible, use material from journals to which Tilburg University has a license. The license usually describes whether an article can be reused in a reader or in an electronic learning environment. An overview (version 2018) of the licensing conditions by publisher is available.
  • If you are using Open Access publications or anything from licensed journals, clearly indicate this in the text to inform Stichting PRO in case of a review.
  • ‘Stacking’ different parts from one text, i.e. distributing parts of a publication among multiple readers for the same course, is not permitted.
  • Publications can remain on Blackboard as long as the course is given.
  • Publications can only be made available to students and staff (the so-called authorized users) of Tilburg University.

Flowchart - using publications in teaching materials

Within the Copyright Information Points of some other universities, a flow chart for including publications in teaching materials is being used. With this chart it is rather easy to determine what is and is not allowed when you want to reuse publications or parts of a publication. The chart applies to printed and digital readers as well as to electronic learning environments such as Blackboard. Here we refer to the Flow chart of Utrecht University (only in Dutch).

Use of audiovisual materials

In 2008, SURF examined copyright issues related to the use of digital image banks. An image bank is a collection of still digital images. The research results are presented in the report Digitale beeldbanken en auteursrechten (only in Dutch). The report explains a lot about photos and copyright.

The website Onderwijs & Auteursrecht (only in Dutch) gives, among other things, more information about how to use music, TV and video in higher education.

SURF composed a Quick reference with the basic rules for using audio and video materials. The SURF website also provides a FAQ about Audiovisual materials.

Video lecturers

The website (only in Dutch) is an online knowledge platform in the field of video and education. It also focuses on some copyright aspects of web lectures. The flowchart Weblectures en auteursrechten (in Dutch) gives guidelines for the reuse of resources within a web lecture. A slightly modified flowchart for Tilburg University is available: TilburgUtube and copyright in teaching materials (in Dutch).

The practical guide How to move beyond lecture capture: legal guide is made to help users (teachers and students) and institutions to help them with legal aspects concerning lecture capture.


Tilburg University has several house rules among which rules regarding cheating and plagiarism. The web pages Cheating and plagiarism explain what is meant by it, and describes the rules and the measures that each school has set out.

The web pages Conduct and integrity give more information about the values and standards at Tilburg University.

Tilburg University RefCite is an online tutorial on referencing, plagiarism and copyright. It is designed to help you learn how to incorporate outside sources into your text, how to document them correctly, and how to avoid plagiarism and copyright infringement. The tutorial comprises five sections plus a self-test.

Copyright and research data

On the one hand research data have to do with Intellectual Right of Ownership and on the other hand with the copyright. The Intellectual Right of Ownership only protects the way the information is presented, and not the information itself. The copyright protects the author's creativity, but only when specific choices are made subjectively. Research data especially deal with information and not as much with style. Yet data can be protected by copyright, for raw data also are established in a specific style.

The report "The legal status of raw data; a guide for research practice" explains the rules under which research data may be protected. The report provides an overview of the current situation on the basis of the most important legislation and case law. It consists of three sections, dealing successively with intellectual property (copyright, database right, and protection of non-original writings), privacy, and liability. This legal guide was produced in 2009 by the Centre for Intellectual Property Law (CIER) for SURFdirect.

Reuse of research data

You deal with intellectual property right, contract right and privacy right both in sharing and reuse of research data. Protection is for specific style and data selection. Sharing and distribution of protected data always requires approval of the person entitled. Use of the data may be agreed on when contracting. Suppliers may indicate in advance what use is and is not granted. The privacy right draws line to the share of personal data.

The Centre for Intellectual Property Law developed a brief guide to help researchers quickly determine what consent they need in order to reuse someone else's research data. It includes references to the detailed explanations in "The legal status of raw data; a guide for research practice".

Use of photos

This information is a brief summary of the chapter about copyright on photos on the Internet and on the Ius Mentis website (only in Dutch).


Almost all photos and images available on the Internet are copyrighted and are only to be used with the creator's permission. You are not allowed to copy and distribute the photos or to use them on a website. Images with a Creative Commons license are an exception to this rule, because this license indicates that you are free to reuse the image as long as you credit the creator.


Reuse of photos or images only for decorative purposes is not allowed. You may use (a part of) a photo, image or drawing to announce, criticize or discuss it. Following citation law, a relevant part of someone else’s work may be used. In all these cases, reuse must be justified by its purpose and source citation is obligatory.

Portrait rights

When someone is recognizable in a photo, then the photo is a portrait. Portrait rights apply when you use a portrait. In Dutch law, two kinds of portraits exist: on commission or not on commission. A portrait on commission can only be publicized with consent of all persons depicted. When a portrait has been made without a specific order, it can be publicized without permission. However, you must take into account the interests of the persons in the picture.

Free photos and images

Many websites or files offer free photos. A small selection is given below. Always read the terms of use of the website. You will find more information about the use of photos for your website, blog or presentation in Raymond Snijders’s blogpost Foto’s zoeken en hergebruiken (only in Dutch) about searching for photos and reusing them.

Most free photos will have a  Creative Commons (CC) license and can be used for free, but some conditions have to be met. The most important one is that you credit the photographer and it would be nice to link to his or her personal webpage as well.

Free images websites

Britannica ImageQuest is a source that brings together the images of many large image libraries such as Getty and National Geographic. It offers high quality, trustworthy and rights-cleared images for educational use only. Tilburg University students and staff members can use the images on the condition that you cite properly. ImageQuest provides you with the image source and citation information and lets you choose from four citation styles: APA, MLA, Harvard and Chicago.

The images are for educational, non-commercial use: for faculty research, classroom activities, homework assignments, digital learning environments, student projects and university publications. You can also use the images for the promotion of events and services on Tilburg University’s website, in advertising, or in marketing. You can access Britannica ImageQuest via the Library databases A to Z.

Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website and popular for users to share and embed personal photographs. Flickr provides both private and public image storage. The licensing options primarily include the CC-based licenses. You can limit your first search results to photos with a CC-license or you might as well start with an advanced search.

Compfight is a Flickr oriented image search engine to efficiently find large images to use for blogs, inspiration and research. It allows you to search for CC-licenses; use the license filter on the left on your screen.

Most of Wikipedia's text and many of its images are licensed under the CC-license so they are free to use. It also includes public domain images of many resources. Click the image to check the copyright status.

Wikimedia Commons is a database of millions of freely usable media files. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files on Wikimedia Commons freely as long as you follow the terms specified by the author. This often means crediting the source and author or creator appropriately and releasing copies or improvements under the same freedom to others. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description page.

Morguefile contains photographs freely contributed to be used in creative projects by the visitors of the site. To acknowledge the creator’s work, credit the photographer when possible. Please notice that Morguefile also offers links to websites where you have to pay for the use of photos!


License to publish

Standard model to set down understandings on publishing in an agreement. The License to Publish is a license with which an author gives his or her publisher the right to start publishing, but where the author retains the other rights him/herself. For instance the right to insert the article in the institution's repository or on the personal website or to reuse it in teaching. Available in Dutch, English, Spanish, French and Danish.

Creative Commons

With a Creative Commons license you retain all your rights, but you give others permission to distribute your work, to share with others or in some licenses to also process it. It offers authors, artists, scientists and lecturers the freedom to deal with their copyrights in a flexible way. Retain your copyrights but give others the possibility to use your work, in a way you choose yourself.

Overview publishers


The SHERPA / RoMEO database lists journals' and publishers' copyright agreements related to repositories and Open Access archiving. More than 1800 publishers are included. The RoMEO Project conducted research on copyrights issues around self-archiving of scientific publications. Self-archiving is making publications full-text available via a repository or personal webpage. 

SHERPA / RoMEO - 'blue' publishers

Information on publishers allowing self-archiving of a postprint version. This is the last version before the final version with the publisher's layout.

Open Access

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

The DOAJ gives the most complete survey of Open Access journals, including hybrid journals, with quality control (peer review or editorial review) in all scientific areas. It contains over 10,300 journal titles (March 2015)


The SHERPA / JULIET database reflects the policy of research funders with regard to Open Access archiving. You can use this database to see whether a specific financer has an OA archiving requirement. It indicates whether you need to archive, what you need to archive, when en where.

Contact persons

The Copyright Information Point is managed and maintained by Library and IT Services - Research Support. If necessary, an appeal is made to the department Legal Affairs of the University Office.

If you have questions as a result of the information the Copyright Information Point offers, do not hesitate to contact Marijke van der Ploeg. Please contact the Legal Affairs department for specific legal questions.

Marijke van der Ploeg

  • Manager Copyright Information Point
  • First contact Copyright Information Point
  • General questions about copyright or related issues


This Copyright Information Point aims at increasing copyright awareness. The message is: know your rights and know the rules!

The matter of the Copyright Information Point provides general information and is meant to support researchers, lecturers and students. Your comments and suggestions for this are highly appreciated!

The information on this website has been compiled with care. We have used sources that we consider to be reliable. However, no rights can be derived from the information.