Basics of copyright

What is copyright?

Copyright provides legal protection of intellectual property of the author or creator of a work.

Copyright gives a creator 1) the right to publish and 2) the right to reproduce a work. These rights are called exploitation rights. According to Dutch Copyright Act, copyright permits the owner the exclusive right to exploit the work and to prevent its reproduction. This means that anyone else wishing to publish or reproduce a work must have the permission of the copyright owner in order to do so.

How is copyright obtained?

Copyright exists as soon as the work is recorded in some material form. Unlike patent right, copyright does not need to be applied for, there is no need for filling out forms of for registering anything.

Who is a creator?

An author of the work is anyone who actually creates the work; a work can have multiple creators. Creator is a holder of copyright, however, in some cases copyright is held by the employer if the work was made for hire. At Dutch universities, staff is usually considered the copyright holders of their scholarly work, while teaching materials developed under the employment contract belong to the university. Creator is not always a copyright holder and may transfer copyright to someone else.

What is work?

A work is a form in which ideas and thoughts are presented. According to Dutch Copyright act, your work must be either visible, readable or hearable. The work is subject to copyright if it has an original character, and bears the mark of its creator. Facts, ideas, thoughts, methodology, techniques are not protected by copyright and patent rights should be applied to protect them.

What are the rights of the creator?

Exploitation rights are the rights to publish and reproduce a work. A creator may transfer these rights to another party.

Moral rights are personal rights that exist between the creator and their work even after transferring copyright to a third party, for example:

- the right to object modification or mutilation of the work;

- the right to be acknowledged as the author of the work and to object to the publication of the work under a name other than their own.