For students

Answers to frequently asked questions about copyright by students.

  • As the author of the thesis, in principle the student has copyright to his/her work. This means that the student has the right to make his/her thesis public and to reproduce it. If another person wishes to use your thesis, they must obtain your permission.

  • The University must obtain the permission of the student, as the author of the work, before including the work in RePub. The student retains copyright to the work.

  • Plagiarism is the copying of another person’s work without quoting the source, potentially creating the impression that the work is your own. Plagiarism is forbidden. Further information about EUR’s fraud and plagiarism policy is available here (Dutch only).

  • Yes, the Copyright Act does allow a small section of a book or journal article to be copied without the copyright owner’s permission, for your own practice, study or use. This may not be done for commercial purposes. Therefore, the copy must be solely for personal use; you may not, for instance, circulate the copies to your fellow students. This also means that you are not permitted to send copies to somebody else by email, because this would be an infringement of the holder’s copyright.

  • This is permitted, provided you do so for your own practice, study or use. Needless to say, you are not permitted to make the scan public to other people and/or distribute it without the copyright holder’s permission.

  • The right to quote does allow you to copy an image, passage of text or part of an audio(visual) work without the copyright holder’s permission for non-commercial purposes, provided the following legal conditions are met:

    1. The work quoted from has been legally published.
    2. The quote serves to support the content of your work and not to embellish or ameliorate your work.
    3. You may not copy any more than is strictly necessary. Images may, of course, be quoted in their entirety.
    4. No changes may be made to the quote.
    5. The source must be clearly quoted.
  • If this constitutes as a quote, then yes, provided you satisfy the legal conditions. If you are unable to rely on the right to quote, you need the copyright holder’s permission. If it is not possible to request permission or permission is not given, you may include a hyperlink to the material.

    For advice on specific permission requests please contact

  • Hyperlinks to material that has been lawfully published online are permitted. In the eyes of the law, embedding something such as a YouTube video is also regarded as a form of linking.

  • Creative Commons is a widely used and accessible type of licence that you can attach to your work. There are six types of Creative Commons licence. When you use a Creative Commons licence, as the copyright holder, you dictate the conditions in which your work may be used by third parties. For all types of Creative Commons licence, it is mandatory to quote the source, and you retain all of your rights to the work.

    The website also provides a licence selection tool that you can use to decide which type of licence best suits your situation.

  • There are a number of online sources of copyright-free material. However, to be sure, always check the applicable conditions. Some widely used sources are:

    • Wikimedia Commons – a database of over 45 million freely available media files, such as videos, audio clips and images.
    • Pixabay – a website with over a million freely available, high-resolution photos, illustrations, graphical images and videos.
    • Creative Commons search – a website designed specifically for searching for material subject to a Creative Commons licence.
    • Europeana Collections – a digital platform, partly financed by the EU, for sharing cultural heritage. The collection offers access to more than 50 million digitised items.
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art – Since the start of 2017, the Met has made a multitude of public domain works available on its website on an open access basis.
    • The British Library – via Flickr, this museum has published over a million images that may be freely used.


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