TEACH Act Information

The TEACH Act is a 2002 revision of the copyright law that clarifies what uses are permissible with regard to distance education. Copyright law clearly allows the performance or display of lawfully obtained images, motion pictures or other audiovisual works during face-to-face instruction, but in online instruction it is necessary to make copies of such materials, store them, and transmit them. The TEACH Act spells out the many conditions under which it becomes possible to do this legally.

Requirements of the TEACH Act

In order to take advantage of the benefits of the TEACH Act, all of the requirements listed below need to be met:

  • Must be an accredited nonprofit educational institution.
  • Must have clear institutional policies regarding copyright.
  • Must provide informational materials regarding copyright that accurately describe and promote compliance with the laws of United States relating to copyright.
  • Must provide notice to students that materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection.
  • Transmission of content must be made solely for students officially enrolled in the course for which the transmission is made, and under the actual supervision of an instructor.
  • Must apply technological measures that reasonable prevent retention or further dissemination of the work by recipients of the transmission for longer than the class session.
  • May not override any existing technological measures used by copyright owners to prevent retention or further dissemination.
  • May not use digital works produced or marketed primarily for performance/display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital networks.
  • Must not have any reason to believe that the material is not a lawfully made and acquired copy.
  • Must be transmitted in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session.

Since the TEACH Act applies to a fairly narrow type of materials and places such a burden on the institution and individual instructors, you might consider using fair use, other licensed materials (such as library resources), or seeking permission from the copyright holder as alternatives.