You always have to deal with copy right in the arts. If you have made (created) something as a self-employed person that somebody else wants to publish or adapt, it can earn you money. If as a self-employed person you want to publish or adapt something that another person has made, you might have to pay to use it. If you are employed, this is a concern for your employer.

What is copyright?

So copyright has a high business component. At the same time it is about what makes art what it is, because a work can only be copyright if it has an original character, a personal stamp and a form.

The right of personality (the moral right) protects the integrity of the work: that is the non-material side of copyright. The right of exploitation is the material side of copyright. This is the exclusive right of the maker to publish and to reproduce (to copy, adapt, or cast in a different form, such as making the film of a book). Other parties require permission of the maker.

Registration of work

Copyright on a work occurs already by creating a work, but to be able to proof it, it is useful to register your work. If there is a conflict in which one party accuses the other of plagiarism, the date of registration prevails. You can register a work or idea with the notary or online. Another possibility is to send the idea by registered mail (when receiving the envelope leave it closed) or send registered e-mails to yourself.

Transfer of copyrights or licenses

You can transfer your copyrights or agree on a license for others to use.

Creative Commons licenses provide simple, standardized alternatives to the “all rights reserved” paradigm of traditional copyright.

Institutions that are planning to make heritage collections accessible by putting them online have to comply with copyright laws. DEN is the Dutch knowledge centre for digital heritage and culture that also offers information on copyright issues.