See Copyright guide

1. What does copyright cover?

What does copyright cover?

1. Exploitation rights

Copyright assigns to the author the exclusive rights to a) communicate a work to the public and b) reproduce it. Together these rights are called the exploitation rights.

  • communication to the public / publication
    The text of the Copyright Act gives no definition of communication to the public. Article 12 of the Copyright Act lists what this concept is understood to include. Briefly, the essence of the concept communication to the public can be described as bringing a work to the notice of the public in one way or another. Examples include publishing a work in paper format, lending a work, or a recitation in public. Communication using electronic means, for example, making an article accessible on a computer or an open or closed network, also falls under communication to the public. 
  • reproduction / duplication
    Nor is a definition given of reproduction (Article 13 and 14 of the Copyright Act). Reproduction is understood to be the making of copies in which the work is recorded, for example, having a publication printed, making an old-fashioned photocopy, and scanning and uploading documents. Adapting and translation are also forms of reproduction. This also applies to storage in an electronic memory.

2. Moral rights / personality rights

In addition to exploitation rights, the Copyright Act recognises moral rights. These rights are so intimately linked with the person of the author that they cannot be transferred to another party. Thus the author can oppose publication of his/her work without due acknowledgement of his/her name or under a different name. The author can also register a protest against any alterations in names in his/her work or against any drastic alterations that could be prejudicial to his/her reputation. These are inalienable rights. However, an author may waive such rights. There is an exception in this respect: the person who has waived moral rights retains the right to oppose any distortion, mutilation or other impairment of the work that could be prejudicial to the name or reputation of the author or to his/her dignity as such (Article 25, paragraph 1d of Copyright Act).

The regulations are based on the Dutch Copyright Act and on the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of Dutch universities

Dutch Copyright Act 1912 - Article 12 

  1. The communication to the public of a literary, scientific or artistic work includes:
    1. the communication to the public of a reproduction of the whole or part of a work;
    2. the distribution of the whole or part of a work or of a reproduction thereof, as long as the work has not appeared in print;
    3. the rental or lending of the whole or part of a work, with the exception of works of architecture and works of applied art, or of a reproduction thereof which has been brought into circulation by or with the consent of the rightholder;
    4. the recitation, performance or presentation in public of the whole or part of a work or a reproduction thereof;
    5. the broadcasting of a work incorporated in a radio or television programme by satellite or other transmitter or by a closed-circuit system as referred to in article 1 sub g of the Wet op de Telecommunicatievoorzieningen.
  2. Rental as referred to in paragraph 1 sub 3° . means making available for use for a limited period of time for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.
  3. Lending as referred to in paragraph 1 sub 3° . means 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.
  4. A recitation, performance or presentation in public includes that in a restricted circle, except where this is limited to relatives or friends or equivalent persons and no form of payment whatsoever is made for admission to the recitation, performance or presentation. The same shall apply to exhibitions.
  5. A recitation, performance or presentation which is exclusively for the purposes of education provided on behalf of the public authorities or a non-profit-making legal person, in so far as such a recitation, performance or presentation forms part of the school work plan or curriculum where applicable, or which exclusively serves a scientific purpose, shall not be deemed public.
  6. The simultaneous broadcasting of a work incorporated in a radio or television programme by the organization making the original broadcast shall not be deemed a separate communication to the public.
  7. The broadcasting by satellite of a work incorporated in a radio or television programme means the act of introducing, under the control and responsibility of the broadcasting organization, the programme-carrying signals intended for reception by the public into an uninterrupted chain of communication leading to the satellite and back to earth. Where the programme-carrying signals are encrypted, this shall be deemed to constitute the broadcasting by satellite of a work incorporated in a radio or television programme if the means of decrypting the broadcast are provided to the public by or with the consent of the broadcasting organization.

Dutch Copyright Act 1912 - Article 13 

The reproduction of a literary, scientific or artistic work includes the translation, arrangement of music, cinematographic adaptation or dramatization and generally any partial or total adaptation or imitation in a modified form, which cannot be regarded as a new, original work.

Dutch Copyright Act 1912 - Article 14 

The reproduction of a literary, scientific or artistic work includes the fixation of the whole or part of the work on an object which is intended to play a work or to show it.

Dutch Copyright Act 1912 - Article 25

Even after assignment of his copyright, the author of a work has the following rights:

  • the right to oppose the communication to the public of the work without acknowledgement of his name or other indication as author, unless such opposition would be unreasonable;
  • the right to oppose the communication to the public of the work under a name other than his own, and any alteration in the name of the work or the indication of the author, in so far as it appears on or in the work or has been communicated to the public in connection with the work;
  • the right to oppose any other alteration of the work, unless the nature of the alteration is such that opposition would be unreasonable;
  • the right to oppose any distortion, mutilation or other impairment of the work that could be prejudicial to the name or reputation of the author or to his dignity as such.


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