Read more about libraries and copyright.

Is the library allowed to include my educational materials in its digital (or other) collections without my permission?

The copyright owner must provide permission to do so.

The copyright owner of educational materials is the employer (i.e. the university of applied sciences/research university) if the materials were created in the course of the employee's duties at the university of applied sciences/research university. In such cases, the employer must state how they wish to deal with the matter, which may vary from employer to employer.

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Is the library allowed to put my thesis in the repository without my permission?

No, inclusion of articles in an institutional repository requires permission from the author or their publisher, if these rights have been transferred.

The institution may use the 'Permission form for the inclusion and availability of your final thesis in a digital knowledge database' for this purpose.

Is the library allowed to store preprints in a repository?

No, inclusion of preprints in an institutional repository requires permission from the author.

Am I allowed to copy an article or publication for use by somebody else?

No, copying is only allowed for personal use

The only third party who is allowed to make a copy for somebody else is a person employed by a library who makes a copy for the person wishing to use it for their own personal practice, study or use. In all other cases, only the copyright owner is allowed to do so. Sending a digital copy (e.g. a PDF) to a fellow student is therefore not allowed.

Am I allowed to scan a paper copy of somebody else's article and save it on my computer?

If it is for personal use (i.e. for your own practice, study or use), then it is allowed. If a library performs the scan for somebody who wants the copy for personal practice, study or use, then it is allowed. Any other distribution of a scanned article requires the author's permission.

Are teaching staff allowed to create a collection of photographs or slides in the media (or regular) library for educational purposes?

The photographs and slides referred to here are often copied or scanned from books. Under the restrictions for education (educational exception no. 2 in the Dutch Copyright Act), they may only be copied and shown for illustrative educational purposes, provided the copyright owner received fair remuneration. Creating collections of photos or slides for use in education is most probably also permissible under these restrictions, such as if the collection has been created specially to aid students in rote memorisation (e.g. for art history). According to the restrictions for education, compilations (which can include collections) may only contain a few works by the same author.

If the collection has been created for lecturers (as an incidental source of teaching materials), then the educational restriction for media libraries is less defensible. Such cases will most probably require the copyright owners' permission prior to including their work in the collection (or database). One special exception applies to the collections of libraries at education institutions, who may publish works from their own collections on an intranet that prevents extramural access. Collections of photographs or slides that a library has acquired legally (e.g. through purchase) may therefore also be made available in this manner.

Until 2004, institutions and companies were still permitted to make (digital or other) copies for their employees' personal use (in practice these were often called ‘spare copies’). Now however, only private individuals are allowed to make copies for personal use or study. Libraries, however, are allowed to make preservation copies of works from their own collection, provided the original is at risk of deteriorating. Digital works in their collections may also be converted in order to allow consultation using new software. For photographs taken by students as part of their studies, media libraries would do well to establish explicit agreements with the students, stating that their photographic work may be used for educational purposes and included in an (analogue or digital) database. If the photos have been created by teaching staff as part of their job, the educational institution owns the copyright and a media library can most probably assume that they can be included in a collection for educational purposes.

Are lecturers allowed to upload videos from the library's collection to a server?

Uploading videos to a server means they will be copied, and stored and made public as a digital file. If the videos have been acquired legally for the library's collection, they may be made publicly available on an intranet accessible only within the library itself.

Is the library allowed to show videos from the collection?

If they are from a physical collection of legally acquired films (i.e. stored on material data carriers such as DVDs, CDs or video tapes), then they may also be viewed.

However, the conditions governing the use of these films may prohibit viewing outside the household context (see also the exceptions for education under 'basic knowledge'). It is not simply permitted to make films available digitally, as this counts as a new form of publication for which permission must be obtained.

More information

Dutch copyright act

Is the library allowed to lend out an article by a third party?

Yes, provided the article is a hard copy, the timeframe is limited and the library makes no 'profit' as a result.

Although it is true that lending is a form of public distribution, libraries are still allowed to lend out printed articles. Lending is defined as 'making available for use, for a limited period of time, by establishments accessible to the public, for no direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage'. There can be no infringement if the copyright owner has received fair remuneration. Education and research institutes are exempt from paying rental payments. The online provision of an electronic article does not qualify as lending, and is therefore not allowed.

Are there different rules for people with disabilities concerning the lending or copying of materials by libraries?

Legislation includes exceptions for people with disabilities. In certain cases, libraries are allowed to create copies and make them available to disabled persons.

This exception only applies if there is a direct relationship with the disability, it is a necessity due to the disability, there are no commercial interests involved and fair remuneration is paid to the creator. However, the definition of a 'disability' is still far from precise, as is what constitutes the requisite 'necessity'.

Is the library allowed to make a copy of a work for storage in the archive (preservation)?

Yes, under certain conditions libraries are allowed to protect scientific/academic materials 'from degradation'.

Section 16n of the Copyright Act gives a detailed description of the restrictions for making a 'preservation copy'. This is only permissible for the restoration of an item, to prevent the deterioration of a copy of the work, or to maintain a viewable copy of the work if the technology becomes disused. Information stored on floppy disks may be transferred to CD-ROM or another storage medium, for example. The original copy owned by the library must also have been acquired via legal means, and agreements must be made with the copyright owner regarding the availability of the preservation copy to users. The legislature considers this to be completely fair, with a view to protecting creators' interests.

More information

Dutch copyright act (in Dutch)