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Copyright for Educators

This guide can help faculty and staff understand the exceptions and limitations to copyright in an academic setting

Classroom Use Exception



The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) of 2002 amended section 110(2) of copyright law to clarify  the conditions under which copyrighted materials could be transmitted in an on-line or distance education environment. Although fairly restrictive, the TEACH Act is really the first step towards accommodating the needs of distance education participants.

Below is the shortened list of requirements that must be met in order to qualify for protection under the TEACH Act:


  • An accredited nonprofit educational institution or government body


  • Performances of nondramatic literary works
  • Performances of nondramatic musical works
  • Performances of reasonable and limited portions of any other works
  • Displays of any other work
    • Amount = comparable to that typically displayed in a live classroom


  • Part of the systematic mediated instructional activities
  • At the direction of or under the actual supervision of the instructor
  • Integral part of the class session
  • Directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content


  • Transmission is made for and limited to students enrolled in the class
    • insomuch as is technically feasable
  • Technological measures are in place that reasonably prevent:
    • Retention beyond the class session
    • Unauthorized further dissemination

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