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Copyright Information and Guidelines: TEACH Act

This guide for the Bentley University community presents information on copyright and provides guidance in evaluating the use of copyrighted material in higher education and scholarship.

TEACH Act

On November 2nd, 2002, the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act), part of the larger Justice Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 2215), was signed into law by President Bush. Long anticipated by educators and librarians, TEACH redefines the terms and conditions on which accredited, nonprofit educational institutions throughout the U.S. may use copyright protected materials in distance education-including on websites and by other digital means--without permission from the copyright owner and without payment of royalties. The TEACH Act expands the scope of educators' rights to perform and display works and to make the copies integral to such performances and displays for digital distance education, making the rights closer to those we have in face-to-face teaching.

The new law offers many improvements over the previous version of Section 110(2), but in order to enjoy its advantages, colleges, universities, and other qualified educational institutions will need to meet the law's rigorous requirements. Educators will not be able to comply by either accidental circumstances or well-meaning intention. Instead, the law calls on each educational institution to undertake numerous procedures and involve the active participation of many individuals.
 

Essential Requirements:

In order for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education to qualify for the TEACH Act 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 and paste disabling, etc.

 

Sources: Copyright Crash Course (University of Texas), American Library AssociationCopyright Clearance Center

TEACH Act and Blackboard

Specific technological requirements of the TEACH Act that are relevant to Blackboard:
 
In summary, if instructors and/or institutions wish to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the TEACH Act for using copyrighted materials, they must reasonably:
  • limit access to copyrighted works to students currently enrolled in the class;
  • limit access only for the time needed to complete the class session or course;
  • inform instructors, students, and staff of copyright laws and policies;
  • prevent further copying or redistribution of copyrighted works;
  • not interfere with copy protection mechanisms

Disclaimer

Please note that the above information is for reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. It is advisable to always conduct a Fair Use Analysis whenever there is a question regarding the lawful use of copyrighted material. If, after careful evaluation, it is determined that the use of particular material would violate copyright law, or if you need to purchase copyright permissions for such use, please contact Matthew Van Sleet at 781.891.2311 or mvansleet@bentley.edu.

More on the TEACH Act

 

Teach Act Tools