The TEACH Act (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002) was signed into law in November, 2002.
This law expanded instructor's ability to use works that are protected by copyright (most works other than US government publications) in digital teaching materials without first obtaining permission from the copyright owner. This covers materials prepared for at-home use by students enrolled courses taught in traditional classroom settings as well as distance learning courses.
The TEACH Act updated the copyright law to remove impediments to the use of new technologies in teaching. Until these statutory changes, electronic transmissions of copyright protected material fell outside the education exemptions found in the copyright law because those exemptions were explicitly limited to face-to-face classroom settings.
Under the TEACH Act, certain copyrighted materials may be used in electronic formats without having to obtain permission from the copyright holder. In order to qualify to use copyrighted materials under the TEACH Act, several conditions must be satisfied:
Technological measures must be employed so that:
The TEACH Act requires that universities:
The TEACH Act does not authorize:
no digital version of the work is available; orand then, conversion is only permitted with respect to the portion of the work authorized to be performed or displayed under the TEACH Act's size restrictions.
the digital version employs technological protection measures that prevent its use;
Under the TEACH Act you may now, under certain limited conditions (described above), use short works or portions of larger works in distributed learning situations without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holder.
If you cannot operate within these constraints, you may still be able to provide electronic access to copyrighted materials under the long-standing principle of "fair use." The TEACH Act explicitly provides: "Nothing in this act is intended to limit or otherwise to alter the scope of the fair use doctrine." The provision of downloadable course materials and supplementary reading materials will continue to be subject to the fair use doctrine exclusively.
Information contained on this website is educational in nature and is not to be construed as legal advice.