Copyright @ Fontbonne University


Copyright Policy and Forms

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Fontbonne's copyright policy is outlined in Section 2.5 of Volume II of the Fontbonne policy manualsCampus Community Policies. 

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.

TEACH Act Tools and Checklists

Obtaining Permission

If you have determined that your use does not constitute a Fair Use and that the TEACH Act does not allow you an exemption, you will need to seek permission from the copyright holder to use the work.

Steps to obtain permission to use copyrighted material:

  • Identify the copyright holder or agent. 
  • Decide if you are willing to pay a licensing fee/royalty. If so, move to Step 3.
  • Send a written request for permission. Remember to give yourself ample lead time, as the process for obtaining permissions can take months.
  • File the written permission with other materials for that course.

If the copyright holder can't be located or is unresponsive (or if you are unwilling to pay a license fee), be prepared to use a limited amount that qualifies For fair Use or use alternative material. Lack of response does not constitute permission.

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