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Copyright: TEACH Act

Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act

The TEACH Act facilitates and enables the performance and display of copyrighted materials for distance education by accredited, non-profit educational institutions (and some government entities) that meet the Act's qualifying requirements. Its primary purpose is to balance the needs of distance learners and educators with the rights of copyright holders.

TEACH Requirements

  • The institution must be accredited, non-profit, and educational
  • Is part of mediated instructional activities
  • Limited to a specific number of students in a specific class
  • Be either 'live' or asynchronous class sessions
  • Cannot transmit textbook materials (things typically acquired by students) or works developed specifically for online uses
  • Limits to "reasonable and limited portions"
  • The institution must develop and publicize its copyright policies
  • The institution must implement technological measures to ensure compliance with these policies beyond passwords

TEACH Doesn't Allow

  • Electronic reserves, ILL, coursepacks
  • Commercial document delivery
  • Digital content under license from the author, publisher, aggregator or other entity
  • Conversion of materials from analog to digital formats (except when the material is used solely for authorized transmissions and when a digital version is unavailable or technologically protected.


Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (2002)

The original, one and only, authentic "TEACH Act Toolkit", was created in 2003 by the librarians of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Atkins Library.

  • TEACH was intended to update the section of the copyright act (specifically, Section 110(2)) most applicable to online digital course.
  • TEACH is not a separate or additional copyright law; it simply replaces an already existing section.  
  • TEACH says it is not copyright infringement for teachers and students at an accredited, nonprofit educational institution to transmit performances and displays of copyrighted works as part of a course if certain conditions are met. 

One of the requirements of the TEACH Act exception is that the "transmitting body or institution:

(i)institutes policies regarding copyright, provides informational materials to faculty, students, and relevant staff members that accurately describe, and promote compliance with, the laws of the United States relating to copyright, and provides notice to students that materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection.."

Sample Statement:

The materials on this course Web 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.


Legal Disclaimer

The advice and information on copyrighted materials provided by the library is not intended to substitute for and is in no way legal advice.

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