Answered By: Dave Harmeyer
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2020     Views: 5

There are special copyright provisions that enable educators to use copyrighted materials for distance education, with certain restrictions. Those provisions are covered under the TEACH Act (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act) enacted by Congress on October 4, 2002.

In general TEACH Act is more restrictive than face-to-face equivalents (which are under the copyright exception of fair use). So TEACH Act is in addition to fair use.

In order to use the TEACH Act, there are 22 (yes 22) prerequisites. Go through this checklist to see if you fulfill those prerequisites.

The focus of the TEACH Act is, performance rights -- to display (show) and perform (show or play) others' works in the classroom. Creating a remote course often requires making a copy of performance rights materials.

Why use the TEACH Act (online educators are not required to use it)? It works well, for example, with music and movies in a remote course. But there are more restrictive rules than what can be done in the face-to-face setting. For example, for things like music and movies, works may be shown only as clips -- "reasonable and limited portions." Please see APU's LibGuide on Copyright -- the tab for Films in the Classroom for more details.  

For more general information about the TEACH Act please visit:

The American Library Association's Copyright for Libraries: TEACH Act.

The University of Texas Libraries' Copyright Crash Course: TEACH Act.