Copyright in teaching

Dutch Copyright Act regulates how lecturers can uses copyright protected works in their teaching. That means, as a teacher, in the majority of the cases you do not need to seek permission for reuse of works produced by others.

Classroom use (Article 12, Paragraph 5)

You do not need to ask permission if you display third-party materials during your physical or online class at TU/e. The main requirements are:

  • the materials must be shown simultaneously with the teaching activity;
  • the class may not be recorded, distributed or uploaded in the Electronic Learning Environment (ELO), such as Canvas.

The right to quote (Article 15a)

One of the exceptions to Dutch Copyright Act is the right to quote (citaatrecht). Citation is primarily associated with quoting small fragments of text. However, images, figures can also be cited, hence they can be reused without prior permission from the copyright holder.

Images must meet all of the following requirements for the right to quote to be applicable:

  1. The images are used in a scientific/educational context;
  2. The images are used functionally, that is, the quoted (visual) material must be relevant to the topic, for example to illustrate or support it. Using an image just to make a slide more attractive ('brighten it up') is not allowed without prior permission; alternatively, stock or CC-BY images can be used.
  3. The number of images from one source (e.g., from the same article or book) is limited, reasonable and justified;
  4. The images are from a legally published source. Quoting from confidential, unpublished documents is not allowed;
  5. The images are not distorted or modified;
  6. The source of the imagery is properly attributed.

Educational exception (Article 16)

Do you wish to compile (digital) teaching materials and do you use texts, illustrations or graphs in these materials which you borrow from copyright-protected works? Parts of works produced by others may be copied and distributed without prior permission if used for non-commercial educational purposes but fair compensation* must be paid to the rights holder. In this case the display of these materials does not have to occur simultaneously with the teaching activity and can be uploaded to ELO, such as Canvas.

*Fair compensation fees are regulated by the Easy Access reader scheme for university education formulated by Stichting UvO. These fees are paid by TU/e from a lump sum. The current agreement expires in the end of 2021 and a new agreement is being negotiated. You can find more information on the current rules and conditions of the Easy Access agreement on this webpage.


Needless to say, whenever a work produced by others is used in the teaching materials, a proper attribution must be made. Proper attribution includes:

  • the title of the image
  • the name of the creator
  • the URL where the source is hosted
  • the type of license the resource is available under, for example, Creative Commons license