When considering whether a proposed use falls within current copyright law, it is important to be aware of the three major laws that make up current copyright legality:
While it is designed to protect the rights of the copyright holder, the Copyright Act of 1978 does recognize the needs of students, scholars, and educators, and provides a fair use clause exempting some kinds of use from the need for permissions. (See the Determining Fair Use tab.)
The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) of 2002 provides guidance on the use of certain copyrighted materials in distance learning. To learn more about the TEACH Act and the uses it does and does not cover in distance learning, check out these resources:
Materials and Access and Protection Requirements:
If all eight of these requirements are not met, the fair use exception may still cover the use.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created to address concerns regarding international recognition of copyright, as well as provide protections for Internet Service Providers should someone use their systems to break copyright law.
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