TEACH Act

The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was signed into law in October 2002.  It amends Sections 110(2) and 112 of the Copyright Act of 1976 to give instructors at accredited nonprofit educational institutions greater flexibility to use third party copyrighted works in online course delivery. The bill permits the display and performance of virtually all types of works during online instruction without the consent of the copyright owner, provided that:

  • the online instruction at an eligible institution is mediated by an instructor;
  • the transmission of the material is intended only for receipt by students enrolled in the course, regardless of where the students are physically located;
  • the institution must employ measures to prevent “retention of the work in accessible form by recipients of the transmission. . . for longer than the class session;”
  • and the institution employs measures that limit the transmission of the material to students enrolled in the particular course and precludes unauthorized student retention and/or downstream redistribution “to the extent technologically feasible.”

The following is a list of requirements institutions must have to qualify for exemption under the TEACH Act:

  1. The institution is a nonprofit accredited educational institution or a governmental agency
  2. It has a policy on the use of copyrighted materials
  3. It provides accurate information to faculty, students and staff about copyright
  4. Its systems will not interfere with technological controls within the materials to be used
  5. The materials to be used are specifically for students in a single class.
  6. Only those students will have access to the materials
  7. The materials will be provided at the presenter’s direction during the relevant lesson
  8. The materials are directly related and of material assistance to educational content
  9. The class is part of the regular offerings at the institution
  10. A copyright notice accompanies the materials in question
  11. Technology will be used that reasonably limits the students' ability to retain or further distribute the materials
  12. The materials will be made available to the students only for a period of time that is relevant to the context of a class session
  13. The materials will be stored on a secure server and transmitted only as permitted by this law
  14. No other copies will be made, other than the one needed to make the transmission
  15. The materials are of the proper type and amount the law authorizes:
     - Entire performances of non-dramatic literary and musical works
     - Reasonable and limited parts of a dramatic literary, musical, or audiovisual works
     - Displays of other works, such as images, in amounts similar to typical displays in  face-to-face teaching
  16. The materials are not among those the law specifically excludes from its coverage:
     - Materials specifically marketed for classroom use for digital distance education
     - Illegal copies
     - Textbooks, coursepacks, electronic reserves and similar materials typically purchased individually by the students for independent review outside the classroom or class session
  17. If using an analog original,  I checked before digitizing it to be sure:
     - Only the amount that is authorized to be transmitted is copied
     - There is no digital copy of the work available except with technological protections that prevent its use for the class in the way the statue authorizes.

*Portions of this document were adapted from the TEACH Toolkit, a joint project of the North Carolina State University Libraries, Office of Legal Affairs and DELTA. http://www.provost.ncsu.edu/copyright/toolkit/

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