This is the "TEACH Act" page of the "Copyright" guide.
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Copyright   Tags: copyright, research  

Guide to copyright for A&T communities
Last Updated: Dec 19, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

TEACH Act Print Page


With the increase of online and distance education, there has been a need to address how materials are used in the classroom by both instructors and students.  The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was passed in 2002.  It updates current copyright law to accomodate the new teaching environments that instructors are using to deliver education at a distance or in virtual environments.


  • The purpose of the act is to address the use of course materials for online and distance courses.
  • The act does not attempt to address the uses of supplementary material used solely by students.
  • Materials used in online / distance education classes must be integrated into the instruction and used interactively by the instructor.
  • In general, as with primary copyright law, only portions of a work may be used.
  • The integration and use of materials in the class shouldn't be done in such a way as to circumvent the purchase of materials by students.
  • Fair Use guidelines still apply

TEACH Act Checklist

The requirements for applying the TEACH Act are fairly extensive. See the TEACH Basic Checklist, below, from North Carolina State University:

  • Accredited nonprofit educational institution
  • Institutional copyright use policy
  • Educational materials on copyright available
  • Work is not a digital educational work
  • Work is lawfully made and acquired
  • Work is integral to class session
  • Work is part of systematic mediated instructional activities
  • Work is directly related/material assistance to teaching
  • Work is:
    • Nondramatic literary work (may use all)
    • Nondramatic musical work (may use all)
    • Reasonable and limited portion of any other work (FOR A PERFORMANCE )
  • Display of any work in amount analogous to live classroom setting
  • Reception limited to students enrolled in course
  • Reasonable downstream controls instituted
  • No retention of work longer than class session and
  • No dissemination beyond recipient
  • For conversions of analog to digital:
    • No digital version available to institution or
    • Digital version available is technologically protected
  • Warning notice to students present on work   

(North Carolina State University Office of the Provost, Teach Basic Checklist,


Right or Wrong?

Media, e.g. pictures, videos, mp3s, movs, apvs, etc., are becoming more prevalent in the classroom, and you need to understand how copyright law affects your use and manipulation of these types.  The basic premise of copyright is that you are free to use the materials during classroom instruction, but you may not archive them, share them beyond the classroom, or convert between formats.  These are general premises that do have exceptions in certain situations.

Some things to think about are:

     Did you download the image from the Internet?

     Did you use screen capture software to copy a video image?

     Did you get an audio file from a friend via email?

     Did someone send you a copy of unreleased material, e.g. audio, video, etc.?

     Did you convert your favorite video from VHS to DVD?

Misuse of these types of materials is a potential violation of copyright.  It is important to remember that just because it lacks a copyright symbol or was found on the Internet does not mean it is in the public domain.  Many images both still and moving are copyrighted and appear on the Internet in violation of current copyright law.  Just because you found it on Google does not mean you can use it without permission.

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