Rights of the creator

The Dutch Copyright Act makes a distinction between exploitation rights (Section 1) and moral rights (Section 25).

Exploitation rights

Copyright assigns to the creator the exclusive right: 
a)    to publish a work, 
b)    to reproduce a work.


Publishing (Section 12 of the Dutch Copyright Act) means bringing a work to the notice of the public in some way or other.

Examples are publishing a work on paper, lending a work or a presentation in public. Publication by electronic means, such as making an article accessible on a computer or on a public or private network falls under publishing.

In addition, any other form of displaying (for image material) and any form of making available for listening (for audio) falls under ‘publishing’. Broadcasting on television, radio, stream or via the Internet, and even public playing using an MP3 or DVD player are examples of publishing. Live appearance is also publication.

In principle, the rightholder’s permission is required every time that a work is published digitally (on the Internet for instance).

Creating a link to work that is legally published on another website is permitted, and constitutes publication if there is a new audience. If there is no new audience, this does not constitute publication. The same applies to embedding and iframing of audio or of a YouTube video for instance.


Reproduction (Sections 13 and 14 of the Dutch Copyright Act) includes all forms of copying, including digitising and downloading as well as making a compilation, including (parts of) a work in a database or the reuse of parts of it in a new work.

Examples are having a publication printed, making a photocopy, scanning and uploading documents, copying audio files or a (video) film. Processing and translating are also forms of reproducing. This also applies to storage in an electronic memory.

A creator can grant others permission to copy and publish his or her work in exchange for compensation. But the creator can also permit free reuse by others.

Permission (for an agreed form of use) is known as a licence, with (any) corresponding royalty (licentievergoeding in Dutch).

Moral rights

These are rights that protect the close link between the creator and their work and rest with the creator even after copyright has been assigned. An important example is the right of the creator to object to false attribution.

So moral rights are retained by the creator, even if he or she has assigned the exploitation rights to their work. After all, he or she is in the best position to protect the integrity of their own work.

More information