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Copyright @ Fontbonne University: TEACH Act

Questions about Copyright and Fair Use at Fontbonne? Here you can get an overview of the basics and find out where to go to learn more. Also covers public domain, the TEACH Act, peer-to-peer file sharing, and University policy information.

What is the TEACH Act?

The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2002 is an amendment to section 110 of the copyright law and addresses copyright issues related to distance education by accredited, non-profit educational institutions. Since the legislation did not define "distance education," TEACH applies to any online course whether the student is on or off campus and provides a different exemption to copyright law than Fair Use.

Overview of TEACH

The TEACH Act affects what and how much digital content an instructor can use in an online environment.

TEACH allows:

  • Posting content that would normally be used in a face-to-face class session, limited to the students in a specific course
  • Performance of entire non-dramatic works (poetry or short story reading, standalone pieces of music such as a song or a concert piece, documentaries, interviews, etc.)
  • Reasonable and limited portions of other works (films, videos, dramatic musical works)

TEACH does not allow:

  • Transmission of textbook materials
  • Transmission of materials "typically purchased or acquired by students"
  • Transmission of works developed specifically for online uses (These should come with separate copyright guidelines.)
  • Conversion of material from analog to digital when the digital version is protected by technological means or is unavailable
  • Uses of unlawfully acquired copies
  • Electronic reserves or electronic course packs

The TEACH Act does not replace Fair Use or digital license agreements but acts as a supplement. The instructor will need to determine which best serves the intended purpose of the material to be used. If the use is beyond the TEACH Act or Fair Use, permission must be obtained. Digital or electronic content is subject to the same copyright restrictions as an analog work.

Works that an instructor would normally show or play during class - a movie or music clip, images of artwork or a poetry reading - are covered. However, it does not cover materials to be used by students outside of class time - textbooks, supplemental readings, etc. The instructor must include a notice of copyright on all online courses. This is best accomplished in the syllabus:

TEACH Copyright Notice
The materials on this course site 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.

For assistance in determining if the TEACH Act is a viable exemption for your intended use, see the TEACH Act Checklist (see Appendix in the Fontbonne University Policy Manual, Volume II .

TEACH Act Tools and Checklists

Streaming Video Resource -- Films on Demand

Fontbonne Copyright Policy



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