See Copyright guide

3. What is a work?

What is a work?

Article 10 of the Copyright Act defines when a work is at issue. From the non-exhaustive list in this article, it seems that the term 'work' in the copyright sense is not restricted to books, brochures or other writings but also encompasses, for example, oral recitations, musical works, choreographic works, architectural designs, photographic works, computer programs and databases. Within the context of the Copyright Act, a work is a form of ideas, thoughts or feelings of the author which is perceptually discernible in one way or another. Furthermore, the criterion is developed in jurisprudence that the work must have an original character of its own and bear the personal stamp of the author. There was a legal case in which an insurance company claimed as its intellectual property a questionnaire that was also used by another organisation. The court disagreed, recognising that the set of questions was more or less the only possible set of questions available to any organisation/person collecting the type of information that was the target of the questionnaire. 
Ideas, thoughts, methods, theories and suchlike are not protected.

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

Dutch Copyright Act 1912 - Article 10 

  1. For the purposes of this Act, literary, scientific or artistic works includes:
    1. books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals and all other writings;
    2. dramatic and dramatico-musical works;
    3. recitations;
    4. choreographic works and entertainments in dumb show;
    5. musical works, with or without words;
    6. drawings, paintings, works of architecture and sculpture, lithographs, engravings and the like;
    7. geographical maps;
    8. drafts, sketches and three-dimensional works relating to architecture, geography, topography or other sciences;
    9. photographic works;
    10. cinematographic works;
    11. works of applied art and industrial designs and models;
    12. computer programs and the preparatory material; 
      and generally any creation in the literary, scientific or artistic areas, whatever the mode or form of its expression. Computer programs do not fall within the category of works referred to in the first sentence sub 1.
  2. Reproductions of a literary, scientific or artistic work in a modified form, such as translations, arrangements of music, cinematographic and other adaptations and collections of different works shall be protected as separate works, without prejudice to the copyright in the original work.


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