Check, share & teach: copyright for teachers

May 3, 2024

Teachers often use copyrighted scientific literature in their courses. However, journal articles, reports and books cannot be posted on Brightspace without restriction. You have to comply with the copyright law. The Library has created a flowchart to clarify the rules. So, before you upload a PDF in Brightspace: check, share & teach!

Although the copyright law prevents unlimited use of other people's texts in Brightspace, it does provide some leeway. Moreover, Dutch universities have a standing agreement (known as the Easy Access agreement) with publishers about the amount of material you are allowed to use. You can use this flowchart to check how to legally share documents in Brightspace.


Below, we explain all the options for reusing sources in teaching material:

WUR asks that if the text is available on a legal website (e.g. a publisher’s website), you should always hyperlink it in your educational materials. By hyperlinking, you comply with copyright law and help reduce costs for the Easy Access agreement. Read more on how to correctly link to copyright protected material. WUR Library can also help you create correct hyperlinks.

Use open alternatives

In addition to hyperlinking, open access content or documents with a Creative Commons licence are also recommended. It is important to check the licence terms of the open access material, but most open licences allow a document to be shared in Brightspace.

Use limited full-text

If the material does not have a hyperlink or does not have an open licence, you can use the Easy Access Agreement (see paragraph below What is the Easy Access agreement?). This agreement allows the use of a small amount of copyright-protected full-text material in your course or reader. You may use up to a maximum of 40 pages and not more than 20% of the complete book or journal issue per Brightspace course or reader. Make sure to acknowledge the sources by correctly citing and referencing.

Other options

If you need to use more than 40 pages or 20% of a book or journal issue, you have these options:

  • Find an open alternative for your material.
  • Ask WUR Library if a journal subscription allows the use in education.
  • Ask WUR Library to buy or subscribe to the material.
  • Ask students to buy the material.
  • Ask the Copyright Information Point to request permission from Stichting UvO to use the material. This option will incur costs.

Using images in teaching material

When you want to use images, the advice is to use copyright-free, open images whenever possible. The Easy Access agreement permits unrestricted inclusion of images in a document, such as a PowerPoint presentation. However, there are two restrictions: a maximum of 25 images from a single source (e.g., a book) and a limit of 10 works from a singular author.

What is the Easy Access agreement?

To efficiently use copyright-protected material, Stichting UvO, representing publishers, and the UNL, representing Dutch universities, have a standing agreement (the Easy Access agreement) that allows WUR to use copyright exemption in exchange for an annual lump-sum payment. This Easy Access agreement allows teachers to use up to a maximum of 40 pages and not more than 20% of a complete book or journal issue in a Brightspace course or a reader, but only when hyperlinking is not possible.

Questions & Support

The Copyright Information Point offers information and support for teachers. Go to Copyright in teaching materials for more information. To contact a copyright specialist, submit a question and we’ll contact you shortly.