Copyright

The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

TEACH Requirements

In exchange for unprecedented access to copyright-protected material for distance education, TEACH requires that the academic institution meet specific requirements for copyright compliance and education. For the full list of requirements, refer to the TEACH Act at www.copyright.gov/legislation/archive/.

In order for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education to qualify for the TEACH exemptions, the following criteria must be met:

  • The institution must be an accredited, non-profit educational institution.
  • The use must be part of mediated instructional activities.
  • The use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.
  • The use must either be for 'live' or asynchronous class sessions.
  • The use must not include the transmission of textbook materials, materials "typically purchased or acquired by students," or works developed specifically for online uses.
  • Only "reasonable and limited portions," such as might be performed or displayed during a typical live classroom session, may be used.
  • The institution must have developed and publicized its copyright policies, specifically informing students that course content may be covered by copyright, and include a notice of copyright on the online materials.
  • The institution must implement some technological measures to ensure compliance with these policies, beyond merely assigning a password. Ensuring compliance through technological means may include user and location authentication through Internet Protocol (IP) checking, content timeouts, print-disabling, cut & paste disabling, etc.

What TEACH Does Not Allow
The new exemptions under TEACH specifically do not extend to:

  • Electronic reserves, coursepacks (electronic or paper) or interlibrary loan (ILL).
  • Commercial document delivery.
  • Textbooks or other digital content provided under license from the author, publisher, aggregator or other entity.
  • Conversion of materials from analog to digital formats, except when the converted material is used solely for authorized transmissions and when a digital version of a work is unavailable or protected by technological measures.

It is also important to note that TEACH does not supersede fair use or existing digital license agreements.

The Bottom Line . . .

Ultimately, it is up to each academic institution to decide whether to take advantage of the new copyright exemptions under TEACH.  This decision should consider both the extent of the institution's distance-education programs and its ability to meet the education, compliance and technological requirements of TEACH.

FAQ's (from the ALA

Distance Education and the TEACH Act (from the American Library Association)

The TEACH Act and some Frequently Asked Questions  (as prepared by Kenneth Crews)

What is the TEACH ACT

Signed by President Bush on November 2, 2002, the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was the product of discussion and negotiation among academic institutions, publishers, library organizations and Congress. It offered many improvements over previous regulations, specifically by amending sections 110(2) and 112(f) of the U.S. Copyright Act.