Creators' Rights Alliance - Between a rock and a hard place - Appendix 2: Select European Laws
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The Netherlands

Dutch copyright law is largely found in the Copyright Act 1912. As with other laws, it confers on authors both moral rights and economic rights. The latter can be assigned, or licensed. In comparison to many other regimes, the regulation of such contracts is relatively limited, (for example, it is lacking provisions on duties to publish, termination and proportionate remuneration) although a draft law relating to publishing contracts has been circulating since 1972.

The most significant provision in the existing law is Article 2(2) which provides general rules on the interpretation of a transfer, similar to the German zweckübertragungsgrundsatz: an instrument of transfer shall only convey such rights as it specifically mentions or are necessarily implied from the nature and purpose of the transaction. The rule has been applied, by analogy, to licences.[1][2] In a decision dated 24 September 1997, the District Court of Amsterdam had to consider whether the publisher De Volkskrant needed permission from three freelance journalists for the use of their articles in quarterly CD ROM compilations on the newspapers web-site. According to the Court, the CDROM and web-site versions were different from the original printed newspaper and so were independent means of utilisation, requiring separate permissions. The print licences did not carry this right with them.

Although in general Dutch law is relatively sparing in its regulation of contracts, more elaborate rules exist in relation to films, under an Act of 1 August 1985. As with many other laws, all authors are presumed to have assigned their rights to the producer.[3] In return, the producer is obliged to pay the authors an equitable remuneration for every kind of exploitation of the film. Moreover, “if new modes of exploitation of the film work are made use of by the producer or his assignee, modes which did not exist or were not reasonably foreseeable at the time the film work was produced, the authors have a right to equitable remuneration for such exploitation.”[4]



[1] H. Cohen Jehoram, ‘Licences in Intellectual Property – A Review of Dutch Law’ [1980] EIPR 184.

[2] B. Hugenholtz, ‘Chronique des Pays-Bas’ (2001) 187 Revue Internationale De Droit D’auteur 111, 153.

[3] Art. 45b.

[4] H. Cohen Jehoram in M. Nimmer & P. Geller (eds.), International Copyright Law and Practice (New York: Matthew Bender 2000, annually updated), para 4[1][a][ii] NETH-31.

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