Everybody knows what copyright means, except when they violate copyright themselves by copying someone else's work, and then suddenly forget what plagiarism, or violating copyright means...

This is something we want to prevent, and therefore, sit back and relax. Take a little time to read the following explanation of the most important ins and outs regarding copyright. Let's be honest, when people hear about Stuvia the first thing everybody asks is: Is it legal? And what about copyright?

Stuvia's a tool to help students think creatively and in a clearer manner. We believe that sharing study material is the best way to do this, especially if there is a monetary incentive. This way people can learn from each other, share documents and become better students. In addition, since documents are easily shared on the internet, schools are now forced to innovate with new cases, assignments, and exams.

Stuvia's all about knowledge sharing, open innovation and cooperation between students, and it's important that we keep it this way. If you're confused about copyright or plagiarism, please keep reading.


CopyrightIt doesn't matter, when you've made something new: copyright will apply. Copyright gives you a certain assurance that it's your work, so one can just copy it. Only you can decide on the distribution of your work, and it will protect you against the abuse of your work. Keep in mind, because of copyright people stay in creative and innovative work.

Article 1, according to Dutch Law, copyright is defined as follows:

Copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a work of literature, science, art, or the creator's assignee, to order to publish and reproduce, subject to the limitations prescribed by Dutch law.

From the moment you've written or built something unique, you as the creator will have automatically copyrighted that creation. However, this right doesn't have to stay in the creator's hands. It can also be that the creator has decided to sell the rights of that particular work to someone else or created something in the service of a company. Moreover, the creator could also die in which case the copyright will be surrendered to the heirs of that person. From that moment on, they are the new copyright holders.

The term copyright can be seen as two different sub-rights: the right to publish the created work and the right to distribute the created work. These rights ensure that no one can simply publish or distribute somebody else's work. Only people with permission to do so are free to publish or distribute the work of the creator.

For people using Stuvia, this means that you're only allowed to upload Study Material if you're the copyright holder of those documents. When uploading a document, you hold all the rights of that particular document. People uploading their Study Material always stay copyright holder and do not ever - by using Stuvia - give away their rights. They can adjust, delete, share for free, or choose to sell their documents. Note: by selling their documents, this will not mean they also sell their copyright. Thus, the buyer is only allowed to use the documents for personal use and Stuvia is not responsible for the documents shared via the Platform.


PlagiarismAs soon as you copy something from someone else, without referring to the original document, it can be seen as plagiarism. Plagiarism is also known as fraud and it is strictly illegal.

If you upload documents to Stuvia which are based on copyrighted work, be sure that you state this in your document. Referencing or quoting isn't a problem, just describe where you got it from and whom the author(s) were. Moreover, summarizing a book or a scientific article wouldn't cause any problems, as long as the summary is your 'own work'. This means: the work has to be written in your own words and you've quoted the right way. Defining the term 'own work' still remains a difficult thing to do since the area, when something is your own work and when it's not, is vague. The law isn't clear about a line, which tells us exactly when something is your own work and when it's not. That's why we cannot provide clear rules to follow. Just be sure yours is a no doubt-case, and you will be fine!

Please note that you are under no circumstances to download the work of others found on Stuvia and submit it as your own work on Stuvia or at any academic institution where you study. This is plagiarism, it would seriously harm your academic reputation and goes against the spirit and purpose of Stuvia.