Copyright on Images

The Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet) automatically protects the copyright of works of literature, science, or art from the moment the work is created, on condition that the work in question is an original work.

The author or creator decides what happens with their work, and how others may use, copy, or display their work.

Copyright is laid down in the Dutch Copyright Act.


Photographs and images are very often used in teaching materials, articles, theses, or presentations.

There are so many freely accessible photos on the internet that it seems logical to assume that these can also be freely used by the public. But that is untrue. 

Most photos are copyright-protected. They can only be used with the consent of the photographer (or another copyright holder).

Permission in advance

If you want to use images or photographs without having to ask permission of the copyright holder make sure you are using a work labeled to reuse, such as:

Also when you are quoting a work you don't need to ask the permission of the copyright holder.

Acknowledgment of sources

Always ensure the correct acknowledgment of sources. This is always obligatory.


A sufficient source reference for an image from the internet can be the name of the creator of an image in combination with the URL where it was found.

If the name of the creator is not known (and therefore it is not reasonably possible to mention it), the URL may suffice.

Keep in mind that a work must be lawfully published in order to be able to invoke the right to quote.


It is often desirable but also necessary to provide more information, for example when you use a certain citation style (such as the APA guidelines) or use a work that has been published under a CC license.

A sample of attribution of sources for images from internet

  • for PowerPoint presentations and teaching materials on Blackboard: a short reference is sufficient:

Photo: A. Author. Retrieved day month year, from http: // www ...


  • for images with CC license: also the link referring to an explanation about reuse is included, for example:

"Title" by Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. licenses / by-nc-nd / 2.0 (document on paper)

"Title" by Author CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. (digital document)


* for best practices for attribution of CC materials see here


  • for official publications: full source reference according to chosen citation style, for example in APA style:

Author, A. (year, day, month). Image titled [Photo]. Retrieved day month year, from https: // www ....

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