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  1. I want to put together a reader and distribute this among my students. What about copyright?

    We define a reader in this context as a collection of excerpts (no complete works) from the work of one or more authors, the collection of which is based on a deliberate (academic) method, structure or idea.

    If you, as a lecturer, want to put together a reader and make it available to your students, in order to fully comply with the law, you have to take the following steps:

    Step 1: Are the excerpts you wish to include in your reader protected by copyright law?

    First and foremost, you should check whether the excerpts that you want to include in your reader are protected by copyright law. If you find the logo © or the mention "All rights reserved" on the work in which the excerpt is included, this gives a strong indication that the work is protected. Proceed to Step 2.

    Authors do not have to indicate on their work that it is protected by copyright. Therefore, a work which contains neither the logo © nor the mention "All rights reserved" is not necessarily unprotected. In general, it can be said that most works are protected and that you therefore need to ask permission to use them. Proceed to step 2.

    Note that some authors attach a Creative Commons license to their work, allowing you to use the work under certain conditions without requesting permission. You must however always mention the name of the author. The author can determine the scope of the license himself (eg. not allowing commercial use, not allowing derivative works, ...). You can find the different types of licenses on the Creative Commons website.

    Step 2: Ask permission

    If the excerpt you wish to include in your reader is part of a copyrighted work of which the author is still alive, you must ask and receive explicit permission to use it. If the author is deceased, permission is no longer required, but fair compensation must be paid to the entitled parties (usually the heirs of the author). In case you have to ask for permission, you also sometimes have to pay a fee. If the work has been published by a publisher, you must ask the publisher for permission. If the author of the work has assigned his/her rights to a collective rights management company, you must contact the latter to ask permission. If none of these scenarios is the case, you should contact the author directly.

  2. My work is plagiarized, what should I do?

    If you notice that your work is being plagiarized, please report this to the Commission on scientific integrity.

  3. What is copyrighted material?

    Belgian copyright law applies a very loose definition to the term copyrighted material: ‘a work of literature or a work of art’. This could, for example, refer to any item in the following non-exhaustive list of materials, regardless of their medium:

    • Educational and academic texts: handbooks, syllabi, encyclopaedias, articles in scientific journals, etc.
    • Journalistic texts: reports, interviews, articles, etc.
    • Visual works: photographs, paintings, maps, plans, etc.
    • Works of visual art: sculptures, architecture, etc.
    • Audio-visual works: films, television series, documentaries, etc.
    • Literary texts: novels, poems, plays, translations, adaptations, etc.
    • Software
    • Databases
    • Other examples: emails, websites, agendas, art books, catalogues, musical works and scores, instruction manuals, etc.

    The above works are protected by copyright if they are original creations that reflect the personality of their authors. Such original creations, however, do not necessarily need to be ‘new’. Two painters could, for instance, have painted the same landscape or townscape perfectly independently of one another and at entirely different points in time. Both will enjoy copyright protection.

    It is imperative to point out that copyright protection will only be granted to the specific form of the work, and not to the underlying ideas, concepts, styles, methods and so on. Taking a literary work as an example, copyright is granted to the text (this being a form of creation), but not to the underlying plot (this being the abstract ideas or material facts on which the creation is based).

    Staff members will find an overview of other forms of intellectual rights (in addition to copyright) on the UHasselt Tech Transfer Office website. Should you have any queries or require more explanation on this subject, don’t hesitate to send an email to techtransfer@uhasselt.be.

  4. What does the copyright encompass?

    Copyright is an intellectual right (or intellectual property right). Intellectual rights are exclusive rights granted by operation of law for certain creations, that will entitle solely the holder of that right – to the exclusion of all other parties – to free use of the creation. The rationale behind this exclusive right: without remuneration for creative labour and the investments associated with this, authors and publishers might be reluctant to embark on the creative process, which could result in a dearth of cultural works for society.

    Copyright distinguishes between two components: property rights and moral rights.

    Property rights

    • Definition
      Property rights enable the author to derive income from his or her work.  In fact, it is solely the author who holds the exclusive right to forbid or permit others to use the work, whether or not subject to payment.
    • Types
      The most important types of property right are the right of reproduction, the right of distribution and the right of communication to the public.
      • The right of reproduction:
        the right to reproduce, edit and translate the work.
        Examples: all forms of copying, adaptation, translation, etc.
      • The right of distribution:
        the right to market the work, to distribute it and to grant permission for its hire or lending.
        Examples: bringing material or other copies of the work to the market in the form of books, CDs, DVDs, etc.
        Please note: An author cannot prohibit that his/her work is being lent for educational or cultural purposes by institutions that are acknowledged or established by the government for this purpose (e.g. university libraries).
      • The right of communication to the public:
        the right to communicate the work to the public, in whatever form.
        Examples: providing online access to an article, the live performance of a musical work by an ensemble of musicians, the reading aloud of a book, etc.
        Please note the following: An author has the right to prohibit communication to the public of his/her work, but s/he cannot do so if the communication concerns a private performance at no charge within a family setting, or a performance at no charge within the framework of school activities that take place either within or outside of the premises of the educational institute (e.g. a PowerPoint presentation). ‘At no charge’ means that no admission fee is requested.

    Moral rights:

    Besides the property rights, an author is also in possession of moral rights, which are tightly bound to the person of the author. These moral rights entitle the author to always be recognised as the author of the work (paternity rights), to decide in which manner and at which point in time the work can be made public (the right to publish the work) and, in conclusion, to demand that his/her work is not changed or otherwise affected (the right to respect for the work).

    Please note the following: In principle, the author will retain the moral rights to his/her work. Even if others are permitted to use the work, they are obliged to observe the moral rights of the author. The author can, in specific cases, waive his/her contractual obligations with regard to exercising his/her moral rights.

    Staff members will find an overview of other forms of intellectual rights (in addition to copyright) on the UHasselt Tech Transfer Office website. Should you have any queries or require more explanation on this subject, don’t hesitate to send an email to techtransfer@uhasselt.be.

  5. Which formalities are associated with copyright?

    A work that has an original form is automatically protected by copyright. The ‘originality’ requirement refers to the author’s own intellectual activity and that the author’s creation bears his/her personal stamp. No additional procedures are required, nor must the copyrighted material be published. In other words: the copyright arises from the original creation.

    The reference ‘©’ indicates that a specific work is protected by copyright, but this is purely for informative purposes. It is not a condition to which the exercising of copyright is subject. Conversely, the ‘©’ notification does not automatically imply that a work is protected by copyright. This depends on whether the work is original and if the protection period has not yet expired.

  6. Are there exceptions to copyright?

    The law provides for several situations in which copyright is limited. In those cases, there is no need to request permission from the author to reproduce his/her work or share it with others. The list of such exceptions is long, hence the choice to mention below those that are important in an academic context:
    The complete overview can be found in the Belgian copyright law (Dutch).
    3.1. Private use
    3.1.1. Reprography
    If a work of authorship has been lawfully published, the author will not be able to object to the partial or full reproduction of articles, visual or graphic works of art, or short fragments (e.g. 1 or 2 pages) from other works, except sheet music, if intended for internal and professional use, provided that no financial gain is sought and that this does not have an adverse effect on the normal use of the work. Internal and professional use is defined here as internal use within an organisation, company or institution (e.g. UHasselt). This exception applies solely to paper reproductions (hard copy), and therefore not to digital reproductions.
    3.1.2. Private copy
    If a work of authorship has been lawfully published, the author will not be able to object to the partial or full reproduction of all possible works, except sheet music, if intended for private use, provided that no financial gain is sought and that this does not have an adverse effect on the normal use of the work. Private use is defined here as the use within the immediate family circle, i.e within the private sphere, and not limited to the persons to whom one is biologically related. Moreover, the reproduction has to be intended for this family circle. This exception applies to all possible reproductions (from paper to paper, from paper to digital, from digital to paper, from digital to digital).
    3.2. Use for educational or academic research purposes
    3.2.1. Reproduction
    If a work of authorship has been lawfully published, the author will not be able to object to the partial or full reproduction of all possible works, except sheet music, used for educational purposes (including training courses) or for academic research, provided that no financial gain is sought and that this does not have an adverse effect on the normal use of the work. Source citation (including the name of the author) is mandatory. The interests of the author must therefore make a limited concession to that of students and academic researchers. This exception applies to all possible reproductions (from paper to paper, from paper to digital, from digital to paper, from digital to digital). 
    • A student makes photocopies in the library of press articles that are relevant to his/her thesis research.
    • A PhD student scans an illustration he/she finds in an scientific book.
    3.2.2. Communication
    If a work of authorship has been lawfully published, the author will not be able to object to its communication for educational purposes (including training courses) or for academic research. Research and educational institutes can make protected copyrighted material available to their students and researchers via a closed network (e.g. Blackboard), provided the access is restricted through a login code and a password. A university is therefore not permitted to post copyrighted material on its homepage where it can be read, viewed or heard by the general public. Links, including embedded and framed links, are, however, permitted.
    All types of work can be shared in this manner, in part or in full, provided the following conditions are met:
    • no profit is sought, and
    • it does not have an adverse effect on the normal use of the work; and
    • this takes place within the framework of the normal activities of the institution, and
    • the source and name of the author are mentioned (unless this is not possible).
    3.3. Dissemination ‘on campus’
    Libraries, museums, archives, and scientific and educational institutes are permitted to make works available within the confines of their own premises (‘on campus’), also in digital form. This takes place via special terminals (or access points) through which access is only granted to persons physically present at the institution. This type of access is considered ‘on site’ access, and may be used only for the purposes of research or individual study. It is granted free of charge.
    3.4. The right to quote
    A quote does not infringe copyright if a series of cumulative conditions are met:
    • Quotes may only be taken from works that have been lawfully published.
    • The quote may only be used for the purposes of criticism, polemics, review or education, or within the framework of academic activities.
    • Quotes may only be used in accordance with fair professional practice.
    • The source and name of the author must always be mentioned (unless this is not possible).
    • The quote must be short (There are no strict rules for this. Quotation length should be weighed against the length of the source material and the purpose of the quote).
    3.5. Anthologies
    An anthology is a collection of excerpts (no complete works) from the work of one or more authors, the collection of which is based on a deliberate (academic) method, structure or idea.
    When an anthology is compiled, consent of the author(s) of the works is mandatory, even if the anthology will be used purely for educational purposes. The standard regulations associated with copyright therefore also apply to anthologies.
    A different standard applies if the material’s author is deceased. In this case, consent of the persons holding the rights (usually the heirs) is no longer needed, provided that the excerpt selection, its presentation and placement do not infringe upon the moral rights of the author, and that fair compensation is paid.
    3.6. Freedom of panorama
    Freedom of panorama permits taking and distributing photographs from works of visual, graphic or architectural nature if the following conditions are met:
    • The works are designed to be placed permanently in public places
      These public places have to be open to the public 24/7 and can be both inside and outside. Hence, the following works remain protected by copyright:
      - works in public museums or in other buildings with closing hours;
      - works from a temporary exhibition;
      - works that were not designed to be placed permanently in public places, but have been relocated to a public place after a while.
    • The work has to be reproduced in its current environment
      It is prohibited to reproduce the work in a different environment, for example to edit the image and in this way to place the image in a different context.
    •  The reproduction should neither conflict with a normal exploitation of the work nor unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author
      Hence, direct or indirect commercial use is prohibited. If you want to put for instance a photograph from the Atomium on a commercial blog, you will still have to consider reimbursing copyright.
    In the above exceptions source citation is mandatory. Therefore, you must always mention the name of the author and the source from which you have taken the quote (book, journal, etc.). The year of publication and other practical details are also useful.
  7. How long does copyright apply?

    Copyright is allocated for a rather long period of time: up to seventy years after the death of the author. This is calculated from the 1st of January of the year pursuant to the author’s death. Should the work consist of various volumes, parts, numbers or issues, then the period of protection applies to each section individually.

    Click here for special cases with regard to the duration of copyright protection.

  8. Are there special cases with regard to the duration of copyright protection?

    Copyright normally lasts up to seventy years after the author’s death. However, there are also special cases that apply to works with multiple authors, audio-visual works, etc. They are explained briefly below:

    • Multiple authors
      If a work has multiple authors, the seventy-year term referred to above is calculated as from the death of the longest-living author.
    • Audio-visual works
      The seventy-year term commences from the death of the longest-living among the following persons: the principal director, the scriptwriter, the writer of the texts,  the composer of the music created especially for the film.
    • Anonymous works or works written under a pseudonym
      A seventy-year term cannot be calculated for anonymous works or works written under a pseudonym. The alternative is seventy years commencing from the date on which the work becomes publicly available, but this event must take place within seventy years after the creation of the work.
      If the pseudonym leaves no doubt concerning the identity of the author or if the author identifies himself/herself during the seventy-year period following the publication of the work, the conventional protection period of seventy years after the death of the author will apply.
    • Publication after the author’s death
      If a work is first published more than seventy years after its author’s death, the person initiating the publication of the work (e.g. the heirs, the finder of an unpublished manuscript or, for letters, the heirs of the person to whom the letters were addressed) will acquire a form of protection equivalent to the property rights held by the author, to which a validity period of twenty-years applies calculated from the 1st of January in the year following the work’s first publication or public communication.
    • Posthumous works
      If the work is published or publicly disseminated within seventy years after its creation, the standard rule applies: the work is protected until seventy years after its author’s death, but it is the legal successors who enjoy this protection.
  9. What about copyright on computer programmes and databases?

    With regard to university employees and officials, the Higher Education Codex (pdf) decrees that the property rights of 'findings' will automatically accrue to the university. By operation of law, 'findings' are deemed to include, inter alia, computer programmes and databases that can be used for commercial purposes, with a view to their application in the agricultural or manufacturing industry. In derogation of the rule normally applied, the author of the software and the databases will be deemed to be UHasselt, and not its employees.

  10. Who is the author?

    The person who designs a creation, whereby a work comes to bear his/her personal stamp, is considered the author. This general definition also applies to materials that are created by a person in the capacity of employee or civil servant, and to people that create works at the order of a customer. Someone who has only contributed materials, technical or financial aid to the creation of a work, can therefore never be considered its author or co-author. The copyright will remain with the physical person who has effectively created the work. Should an employer or customer wish to acquire copyright, an explicit transfer of rights will be required (i.e. by means of an agreement, employment contract, etc.).

    In concrete terms, this means that UHasselt is not the author of any materials created by its employees or students. As a general rule, copyrights will always remain with the employees or students. In cases like this an explicit transfer of rights would be required if UHasselt wished to acquire copyright to the creations of its employees or students.

    If there is any doubt relating to the authorship of a work, the author is the person whose name (or pseudonym) appears on the work, unless there is proof to the contrary. Should the author wish to remain anonymous, then in relation to third parties, the publisher will exercise copyright until the moment that the author’s identity becomes known.

    Attention: a disparate regulation applies to software and databases, in which case the rights revert automatically to the employer. Click here for more information.

  11. What conditions apply to co-authorship?

    The authors of a shared work ( or "co-authors") will, in principle, stipulate the details of their relationship in an agreement.

    If no agreement exists between the co-authors and their respective contributions can be divided, the work will be considered a divisible work. In this case, the copyright will be exercised on the entire work jointly, but each author will be entitled to commercialize his or her own contribution independently without the intervention of his/her co-authors (e.g. if a book contains illustrations, the author who created the illustrations will be entitled to commercialize these independently). However, the co-authors may not publish their own contribution in another work (e.g. the author of the illustrations may not engage another author to write a new text to go with the aforementioned illustrations).

    If the respective contributions of the authors are not divisible, the relevant work is considered indivisible. In this case the law – in the absence of an agreement – will apply the principle that the co-authors must exercise their copyright jointly and equally.

  12. What to do with copyrighted material that you find online?

    There is a lot of data available on the Internet: software that can be downloaded, photographs, text material, and much, much more. The fact that this material can so easily be retrieved does not mean, however, that it can be copied and used without any restrictions. As copyrights also apply to online data, you are also obliged to comply with the general copyright rules. Open Access channels, for example, promote access to numerous articles, without any need for their authors to automatically relinquish their rights.

    Nevertheless, you will find details online with extensive user rights for third parties, also called ‘licenses’. This situation is referred to as copyleft, in which an original work and all derivatives thereof can be freely adapted, expanded and improved at all times. This could concern for example a ‘creative commons license‘, in which the copying, distribution and communication of the work is permitted under specific circumstances.

  13. What is plagiarism?

    UHasselt applies the following definition of plagiarism (taken from the Education and Examination Regulations (pdf)):

    Plagiarism is an irregularity that entails copying or translating another’s work in an identical or slightly modified form without providing an adequate citation of the source. Engaging third parties to compile texts on your behalf is also considered plagiarism.

    '[...] copying or translating of the work [...]'

    Work = a text (or a fragment thereof), images, figures, graphics, sound or image recordings, diagrams, etc.
    - printed work: books, magazine articles, journal articles, etc.
    - digital work: online encyclopaedias, e-books, etc.

    '[...] in an identical or slightly modified form [...]'

    - Quotation = literal replication of a text fragment between double quotation marks (" ").
    - Paraphrasing = acquisition of a person’s ideas or propositions in a slightly modified form, i.e. restated in your own words.
    - Translation = translating texts in another language, for example from English into Dutch.

    '[...] without providing an adequate citation of the source.'

    Quoting, paraphrasing or translating texts without citing the source = plagiarism!

  14. How is plagiarism detected at UHasselt?

    Student assignments:
    Every assignment uploaded by a student to Blackboard is checked for plagiarism.

    Lecturer files:
    Every file uploaded by a lecturer to Blackboard can be checked for plagiarism through ‘Direct Submit’.

    Bachelor’s and master’s theses:
    When you hand in your bachelor’s or master’s thesis it will be checked for plagiarism.

  15. What are image rights?

    If you wish to publish a work into which an image of one or more persons has been incorporated, you must obtain prior consent from the person or persons involved before you can distribute (or further distribute) this visual material. Every person holds image rights. This means that the creation and distribution of visual images of every individualised and recognisable person is subject to the consent of the person involved! This is regardless of the medium involved: a photograph, drawing, painting, video images, etc. Additionally, granting permission to create an image does not automatically mean permission to distribute this image. 

    To avoid future problems, click here for a template that will serve to establish a written record of consent (docx).

  16. How do you publish work that was funded by FWO, ERC, Horizon 2020 or FP7?

    If your research was funded by FWO, ERC or a framework program of the European Union (e.g. Horizon 2020 or FP7), you will be required to make this available in Open Access. Click here for a step-by-step plan to help you meet these conditions (docx).

  17. Why attaching a SPARC Author Addendum?

    Attaching the SPARC Author Addendum to the copyright agreement received from your publisher will enable you to retain the following rights:

    • the right to reproduce, distribute and publicly disseminate your article, regardless of the medium and for non-commercial purposes;
    • the right to create derivative works based on your article;
    • the right to grant others permission to use your article for non-commercial purposes, provided that you are acknowledged as its author and that the journal in which it has been published is cited as the source of its first publication.

    Therefore, you may make copies of your article and have these distributed for educational and research purposes and upload your article to personal or institutional websites, and in Open Access digital repositories such as the UHasselt Document Server.

  18. What is a Creative Commons (CC) license?

    Attaching a Creative Commons License to your work will enable you to retain full copyright, and sanctions the publication’s reproduction, distribution and communication, subject to the condition that your name is mentioned along with any other conditions which you impose. You can determine yourself the scope of the license (e.g. not permitting commercial use, not permitting derivative work to be made of your publication, etc.). The Creative Commons website contains several licenses to choose from.

  19. When to use the License to Publish?

    You can give your publisher permission to publish your publication in print and/or digital form through a license to publish, while retaining the right to use the published version for educational or research purposes, and to upload it to the digital archive (repository) of the institution at which you are employed (e.g. the UHasselt Document Server). The license also governs the publisher’s right to postpone the uploading of the publication to the repository for a period of 6 months after the article has appeared. Download, complete and sign the template and send it to your publisher:

  20. What do the terms preprint and post-print mean?

    The preprint is the manuscript which has neither been subjected to peer review nor accepted for publication.
    The post-print is the peer-reviewed version of the manuscript that has been accepted for publication (usually in a Word or LaTeX file). In terms of content, this will be the same as the published version, but without the publisher’s lay-out.

  21. How to use the UHasselt logo?

    Students can contact Dave Bosmans for more information about the use of the UHasselt logo. Researchers on the other hand will find relevant guidelines on the intranet: https://www.uhasselt.be/intra/huisstijl-UHasselt/ALGEMEEN-Huisstijl-huisstijl/logo-UHasselt.html.

  22. Can I take pictures of houses and include them in my UHasselt thesis?

    Yes, you can, provided that:

    • you use the pictures for the purposes of criticism, polemics, review or education, or within the framework of academic activities
    • you mention the name of the architect as your source. Attention: do not mention the address of the house, as this is an infringement of the privacy of the residents.

    The above regulations are covered by one of the exceptions to copyright, i.e. the right to quote, and apply to pictures of Belgian houses as well as pictures of foreign homes.

    Attention: When you want to publish (part of) your thesis with a publisher, the normal copyright applies and you should ask for permission from the architect to include the pictures in your thesis.

  23. Can I take pictures of people and include them in my UHasselt thesis?

    Yes, you can, but you have to take into account the portrait rights of the persons concerned. More information about these portrait rights can be found here.

  24. I want to translate a cartoon and use this translation in the context of my scientific research. Which steps do I have to follow?

    First of all, request permission for the translation from the author of the cartoon. As soon as you have obtained this permission, you can include the translated cartoon in your research under the following conditions:

    • Only include the cartoon if it is scientifically relevant to your research;
    • Mention the name of the author of the cartoon as your source.

    As soon as you want to publish your research containing the translated cartoon with a publisher, the normal copyright applies, which means that you will have to ask permission from the author again for inclusion of the cartoon in your research.