In the academic domain, students, lecturers and researchers all have to consider copyright issues in their work. This page provides general information about copyright and the Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet).


The creator of a work is the owner (title holder) of that work. Under the Copyright Act, creators have exploitation rights and personality rights, which means that they can distribute and commercialise their work. Authors have the right to reproduce (e.g. make copies of) their work and make it public (e.g. show, distribute, allow access to it). Under the Copyright Act, the creator of a work also has personality rights. These protect the author’s personal relationship to the work. This means that the creator can take action if others damage or alter the work.


Under the Copyright Act, the title holder is usually the person who created the work. The work of the title holder is granted copyright protection. Article 7 of the Copyright Act, in which the employers' copyright has been laid down, also applies to academic employees. This means that Utrecht University is considered as the title holder.


A work can be a book, a piece of music, illustrations, films, computer programs, psychological tests, knowledge clips, etc. Certain works fall outside the scope of copyright legislation. These include laws, regulations, court decisions and decrees. But almost every publication, electronic or otherwise, is protected by copyright, provided the work has a unique and original character. The principle is that there is no distinction between a work in digital format and a work on paper.