Reprographic reproduction rights (reprorecht): how it works

Many entrepreneurs have to pay for reprographic reproduction rights (reprorecht). What exactly are reprographic reproduction rights? When do entrepreneurs receive an invoice for such rights and how is the amount calculated?


What are reprographic reproduction rights?

Reprographic reproduction rights, or Reprorecht in Dutch, are the fee that entrepreneurs and organisations must pay every year for making (hard or digital) photocopies for internal use. In many companies it is common practice to make photocopies of newspaper and magazine articles or chapters from (e-)books by copy-pasting, scanning, e-mailing, storing, or posting on intranet of text or images. Often this material is also shared around.

The material you copy is often the work of others that is protected by copyright under the Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet). The Copyright Act states that only the creator (writer, photographer, publisher, translator, designer, illustrator) of a work has the right to disclose or publish their work. Unless the rights holder gets a compensation (reprographic reproduction rights).


Dutch Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation (Stichting Reprorecht)

It is impossible for organisations and companies to track and pay what they owe to the creator(s) of a work individually. That is why the Dutch Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation (Stichting Reprorecht) was established in 1974. The Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation looks after the interests of copyright holders by collecting the copyright fees for the (digital) copying of information from books, magazines, newspapers, and digital or online versions thereof. In 1985, the government appointed the foundation as the only organisation that collects this fee. Since 2003, it also regulates the fee collection for paper photocopies in the business sector, and since 2013 for copying via digital means for internal use.

By means of an approved distribution key, the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation ensures that the fees are shared with the creators. The foundation has no profit motive.


What is, and what is not allowed?

If you pay a fee to the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation, you may use other people's publications for internal purposes. But there are conditions (in Dutch), such as:

  • Only share copies within your own organisation:
    • Share with your own employees and temporary workers in the Netherlands.
    • Do not share with clients, customers, and other relations.
    • Do not share with self-employed professionals and fellow entrepreneurs.
  • Don’t copy too much or too often:
    • No more than 1 chapter per book, or no more than 5% of the book.
    • Per newspaper or magazine, no more than a few articles per year.
    • No systematic storage in archives or databases.
    • No clipping journals or syllabi.
  • Keep it fair. Make sure that you have gotten the source material in an honest way, and that the use of copies does not replace any subscriptions or purchase of a book.
  • Check the database of the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation to make sure that the rights holder has not opted out of the Reprographic Rights Regulation (Reprorechtregeling).

Have I received a phantom invoice?

An invoice from the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation is not a phantom invoice. The foundation is supported by the government. You pay for the use of someone else's work. If you doubt the authenticity of the invoice, go to the website of the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation and log in with the details on your invoice. You can also contact them by telephone.

How is the amount of the invoice determined?

It is impossible to determine how many copies of copyrighted work a company makes. That is why the Royal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MKB-Nederland) and the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), together with a number of affiliated sector organisations and the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation, have developed a system to determine the amount to be paid.

The most important factors are the number of employees within your company and the category in which your company falls: 1) you do not make copies, 2) you copy less than average, 3) you have average copying behaviour, or 4) you exceed average copying behaviour. The more employees there are and the higher your copying category, the higher the fee (in Dutch).


Do I have to pay or can I object?

Did you receive an invoice, even though you never make any digital or paper copies? Then log in to the foundation's website and report this. For companies with more than 20 employees there is a special regulation that requires you to keep records of your copying behaviour and to provide evidence.
Do you think you have been wrongly classified? You can also report this via the website. Are you still not able to work it out? Then you can lodge an objection (in Dutch) against the invoice. Make sure to do so within 3 months after the invoice date.

Do self-employed professionals also receive an invoice?

According to agreements with the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW) and the Royal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MKB-Nederland), the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation does not immediately send an invoice to companies with fewer than 3 full-time equivalent employees. Copying for internal use usually happens quite rarely within smaller companies. Sending an invoice would create an unnecessary administrative load for these small businesses.

This is not a legal exemption for self-employed professionals who do make (digital) copies for internal use that fall under the reprographic reproduction rights regulation. Do you make such (digital) copies within your company? Then you can make an arrangement with the foundation. Did you receive an invoice, but you never make (digital) copies? You can report this to the foundation by filling out the Verklaring geen gebruik voor kleine bedrijven (Statement of no use for small companies, in Dutch) on their website.

Do you receive a reprographic reproduction rights fee?

If you are a writer for professional and scientific journals, scientific books, or educational material, you are entitled to a fee. Usually, authors get their share of the reprographic reproduction rights fee through the publisher. Some publishers do not register with the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation. Writers connected to such publishers can contact the Reprographic Reproduction Rights Foundation or the Lira Foundation (in Dutch) directly.