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Copyright rules in the Netherlands

Published on 23 January 2018

Get to grips with the framework of copyright law in the Netherlands with the 2018 TerraLex Cross-Border Copyright Guide.

What are the main sources of copyright law in the Netherlands?

The main source of copyright legislation in the Netherlands is the Copyright Act (Auteurswet).  The Copyright Act was enacted in 1912. Since then, many changes have been made. A body of case law is available to interpret the legislation.

Because the Netherlands is a member of the European Union, the Copyright Act must be read and interpreted in accordance with European Directives and Regulations, such as the Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC of 22 May 2001). Therefore, directives were implemented in the Copyright Act and courts interpret the Copyright Act in accordance with European case law.

Apart from the copyright legislation, other laws are relevant. The Neighbouring Rights Act (Wet op de Naburige Rechten) contains rules for protection of preforming artists, producers of phonograms or films and broadcasting companies, and the Database Act (Databankenwet) provides protection for certain databases. These two Acts are relevant, but are technically not a part of copyright law. Therefore, they will be left out of this guide.

To find out more about subsistence of copyright, ownership, infringement, remedies, enforcement and copyright reform in the Netherlands, download the full chapter below.