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Copyright & Fair Use: TEACH Act

Information on Copyright and Fair Use in the Classroom

Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act

In 2002, the TEACH Act (Technology, Education, And Copyright Harmonization Act) modified U.S. Copyright law as it pertains to the use of copyrighted works in digital distance education. 

When all of its requirements are met, the TEACH Act permits the use of copyrighted materials without having to obtain prior permission from the copyright owner.

TEACH Act Requirements for the Institution and Information Technology Department 

  1. The institution must be an accredited nonprofit educational institution or government body.
    •  Canisius College meets both of these requirements.
  1. The institution must have a copyright policy in place and inform faculty, staff, and students about the policy.
    •  The Canisius Copyright Policy can be viewed here.
  1. The institution must take steps to ensure that copyrighted materials are made available only to students officially enrolled in the course.
    •  This is accomplished through the synchronization of the D2L Course Rosters with the college's Banner Student Information System. Only those students who are officially enrolled in a course will have access to the course content within D2L.
  1. The institution must provide notice to students that materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection.
    •  All courses generated in the D2L Learning Management System at Canisius College include the following Copyright Statement:
      The materials on this course site are subject to all applicable copyright laws. Materials are only for the use of students currently enrolled in this course and may not be copied, retained, or disseminated to others.
  2. Transmission must be made solely for and limited to students officially enrolled in the course.
  3. Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent students from distributing the material after viewing it.
  4. Technological protections must be implemented to prevent students from retaining and further distributing the course materials; e.g., video streaming. 

TEACH Act Requirements for Instructors

  1. The performance or display of materials must be: under the control or actual supervision of an instructor, an integral part of the class session and analogous to what takes place in a face-to-face classroom.
  2. The performance or display must be directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content.
  3. Students must be informed that materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection.
  4. The instructor must use a lawfully made and acquired copy.
  5. Use is limited to performances and displays. TEACH does not apply to materials that are for students' independent use and retention such as textbooks, coursepacks, or readings.
  6. Analog works can be converted into digital works if no digital version is already available.

Note: The TEACH Act and Fair Use operate independently of each other. You may encounter situations in which TEACH does not apply to a specific resource; however the work might be useable under the provisions of Fair Use.

Resources to Guide You

  • "The TEACH Act Basic Checklist" (printable PDF file) developed by Peggy Hoon at NC State University and currently hosted at Colorado State University.
  • "The TEACH Act and some Frequently Asked Questions" prepared by renowned copyright expert Dr. Kenneth Crews (who established the Copyright Management Center at IUPUI and is currently the director of the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University).
  • The American Library Association (ALA) "TEACH Act Best Practices using Blackboard" provides an excellent interpretation of how the law applies when using a learning management system (like D2L).
  • "TEACH Act Toolkit" Developed by Peggy Hoon (an attorney and well-regarded copyright specialist) this toolkit was originally housed at NC State University but has found a new home at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte.