The TEACH (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act) Act of 2002 impacts online educators more directly than online students. It brings into closer alignment uses of copyrighted materials that are permitted in a face-to-face class with similar uses in an online course. Essentially, it allows educators to perform or display certain copyrighted works in an online environment, if certain requirements are met, as part of “mediated instructional activities” in the course. Because of the TEACH Act, an online educator can incorporate film clips into a film studies course, or sound bytes into a music appreciation course. Institutions that have chosen to comply with the TEACH Act must, as a requirement of the Act, provide educational materials about copyright to their community and promote copyright compliance. Students in the course must be notified that the materials may be subject to copyright protection, that they cannot save materials to their computers, that they may not revise the materials in any way, and that they may not copy or distribute the materials.
Source: Copyright Concerns in Online Education: What Students Need to Know. Jackie AlSaffar, Journal of Library Administration; 2006, Vol. 45
In exchange for unprecedented access to copyright-protected material for distance education, TEACH requires that the academic institution meet specific requirements for copyright compliance and education.
In order for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education to qualify for the TEACH exemptions, the following criteria must be met:
The new exemptions under TEACH specifically do not extend to:
It is also important to note that TEACH does not supersede fair use or existing digital license agreements.
Ultimately, it is up to each academic institution to decide whether to take advantage of the new copyright exemptions under TEACH. This decision should consider both the extent of the institution's distance-education programs and its ability to meet the education, compliance and technological requirements of TEACH.