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Copyright and Fair Use

Basics of copyright and fair use for faculty and students

What is the TEACH Act?

Perhaps you have heard of the TEACH Act and wondered if it affects you?

The TEACH Act (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act, 2002) (Section 110(2) of the US Copyright Law) allows educators to perform or display copyrighted works in distance education environments. The act allows use of video and still images in distance education similar to use in a face-to-face classroom. If you would like to show a video or display an image during your online class, the TEACH Act may be applicable.  Implementing TEACH can be difficult, however, because of its complexity and the many detailed requirements for instructors and institutions.

Requirements of the TEACH Act:

  • Teaching must occur at an accredited, nonprofit educational institution
  • Copies of materials used must have been lawfully acquired (no self-made copies, without permission)
  • Use is limited to performances and displays. The TEACH Act does not apply to materials intended for independent use and retention by students, such as textbooks or readings
  • Use of materials must be within the context of "mediated instructional activities" analogous to the activities of a face-to-face class session
  • Materials to be used should not include those primarily marketed for the purposes of distance education (e.g., an electronic textbook or a multimedia tutorial)
  • Access must be limited to only students enrolled in the class
  • Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent students from saving or distributing the material after viewing it. (This essentially means streaming video must be used rather than a file that could be downloaded and saved on a student's computer)
  • If a digital version of the material is already available, then an analog copy cannot be converted for use
  • Students must be informed that the materials they access are protected by copyright
  • The educational institution must have a policy on the use of copyrighted materials and provide informative resources for faculty advising them about copyright law


The TEACH Act and Rock Valley College


Rock Valley College's course management system Eagle (Canvas) is "TEACH Act compliant" since it is possible to make video content streaming only.   To do this, create a content page and then follow the instructions here.  Remember that it is always better to link to content on the Web if possible rather than providing a copy of it to students.  Providing a link in Eagle is the best way to circumvent potential copyright infringement issues.


Further Information on the TEACH Act


The TEACH Act Toolkit at LSU Libraries

Distance Education and the TEACH Act from American Library Association

Guide to the TEACH Act from University System of Georgia