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T.E.A.C.H. Act (2002 update of §110(2) of the Copyright Act)

Technology, Education, Copyright, Harmonization

  • TEACH is triggered whenever musical or dramatic performances, images and or text are transmitted over a network- NOT just in distance education or online courses.
  • Colleges and universities are not required by law to rely on TEACH - the 4 Fair Use Factors alone can be used to evaluate for Fair Use claims for transmission; TEACH was intended to expand on Fair Use, but it is complex.
  • Fair Use and/or existing License Agreements still apply
  • All TEACH Act criteria must be met before using the material

TEACH Does Not Cover

  • E-Reserves
  • Course Packs
  • Interlibrary Loans
  • Commercial Document Deliveries
  • Textbook and related licensed publisher content


TEACH Act Basic requirements (remember, ALL of these criteria must be met ):

The TEACH Act applies only to ACCREDITED, non-profit educational institutions. The educational institution must:

  • Establish a policy that governs the use of copyrighted materials (CPCC Copyright policy page: http://www.cpcc.edu/administration/policies-and-procedures/6-10-reproduction-of-copyrighted-materials)
  • Distribute accurate information to faculty and students on copyright.
  • Promote compliance with the copyright law.
  • Provide the students with a notice that the materials may be covered under copyright if there is no visible statement on copies that you are making for others or posting on your class Website, then you need to include the following a statement such as:
    • The material on this course site (Web, Blackboard) are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated"

If an institution meets all these criteria, then faculty can use the TEACH Act for distance education courses, but need to determine if the types of materials are covered by TEACH:

  • Performances of non-dramatic literary or musical work
  • Performances or displays of reasonable portions of other works; reasonable portions are defined as those amounts that would be used in a normal class setting

The following materials are NOT permitted under the Act:

  • Digital educational materials that are designed and sold to be used in a classroom setting through mediated instruction - the institution must purchase a copy of the work for this purpose
  • Copies not acquired lawfully (e.g., purchasing the item), such as a copy of a video tape owned by another institution

Even if the use of materials is permitted, there are additional criteria that must be met:

  • The use of materials has to be under the direct supervision of the teacher.
  • It has to be a part of the class session and not something to be viewed before or after the class session; it must be part of a mediated instructional activity.
  • The material must be directly related to and of importance to the teaching of the content.
  • Transmission of the materials must be directly sent to and limited to the students in the class.
  • Technological measures must be taken to ensure the material is not accessible beyond the class session and cannot be further disseminated.
  • There is no tampering with the copyright holder's technological measures for preventing retention and redistribution.

Analog versions (paper, film, video) may be converted to digital formats IF:

  • A digital version is not available for purchase or lease
  • The available digital version has technological measures that protect it from being used under the provisions of the TEACH Act.