The TEACH Act, passed in 2002, updates Copyright Law to include distance education classes. Some of the criteria that allows educators to use the TEACH Act include being an accredited institution, limited to a specific number of students, must not be typical items used such as textbooks, and the institution must have a public copyright policy.
Ready to use the TEACH Act? Use this handy checklist to see
__ 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 specifically excludes from its coverage:
Materials specifically marketed for classroom use for digital distance 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 with technological protections that prevent my using it for the class in the way the statute authorizes
Copyright for Educators & Librarians - This Coursera course provides an excellent overview of the copyright law of the United States. Topics covered include: history of copyright, fair use, and owning rights, among others.
Copyright for Multimedia - This copyright course from Coursera covers copyright issues for audio and video recordings and images.
Education World - The Educator's Guide to Copyright and Fair Use - A five part guide copyright and fair use for educators from Education World.
Some materials are in the public domain, which means the intellectual property is not owned or controlled by any person or entity. Materials in the public domain can be used freely, although they may need to be properly cited. Determining copyright terms and what is in the public domain can be difficult; this site is an informational starting point.