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Fair use is a significant exception to copyright that online instructors can use in their classrooms. Another exception is the 2002 TEACH Act (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act), which attempts to respond to the increase of online courses and the use of copyrighted materials in those courses.

The requirements for the TEACH Act to become active are extensive.  In the box to the left, is a full printable TEACH Act checklist for the University of Texas Libraries. 

Use this handy checklist to see if you are ready to use the TEACH Act

__ My institution is a nonprofit, accredited educational institution or a government agency

__ It has a policy on the use of copyrighted materials

__ It provides accurate information to faculty, students and staff about copyright

__ Its systems will not interfere with technological controls within the materials I want to use

__ The materials I want to use are specifically for students in my class

__ Only those students will have access to the materials

__ The materials will be provided at my direction during the relevant lesson

__ The materials are directly related and of material assistance to my teaching content

__ My class is part of the regular offerings of my institution

__ I will include a notice that the materials are protected by copyright

__ I will use technology that reasonably limits the students' ability to retain or further distribute the materials

__ I will make the materials available to the students only for a period of time that is relevant to the context of the class session

__ I will store the materials on a secure server and transmit them only as permitted by this law

__ I will not make copies other than the one I need to make the transmission

__ The materials are of the proper type and amount the law authorizes

  • Entire performances of nondramatic literary and musical works
  • Reasonable and limited parts of a dramatic literary, musical, or audiovisual work
  • Displays of other works, such as images, in amounts similar to typical displays in face-to-face teaching

__ The materials are not among those the law expressly excludes from its coverage:

  • Materials specifically marketed for classroom use for online education
  • Copies I know or should know are illegal
  • Textbooks, coursepacks, electronic reserves and similar materials typically purchased individually by the students for independent review outside the classroom or class session

__ If I am using an analog original, I checked before digitizing it to be sure:

  • I copied only the amount that I am authorized to transmit
  • There is no digital copy of the work available except one with technological protections that prevent my using it for the class in the way the statute authorizes

Note that requirements are for the institution as well as the individual faculty member.

"Copyright Crash Course" by Colleen LyonUniversity of Texas Libraries is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0