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Copyright at DMU: Copyright and Distance Learning

Des Moines University's copyright policy, procedures for documenting fair use, and other helpful resources

Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act

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:

Fair Use and the TEACH Act: Which Applies?

While the TEACH Act is designed to especially assist distance educators and students, it is very limited in the scope of the materials that it covers.   Fair use takes a much broader consideration of copyright, and may allow use when the TEACH Act would not.  If what you're hoping to do falls directly under the TEACH Act, great!  If not, use the Fair Use Checkliest to think and work through whether you are covered there.   

TEACH Act Requirements in a Nutshell

Materials and Access and Protection Requirements:

  1. Access to the materials is limited to only those enrolled in the class.
  2. The materials are available only for the duration of the class session.
  3. To the extent possible, technological protections are implemented to prevent students from retaining and further distributing course materials.
  4. The materials must contain a notice stating that they may be subject to copyright protections.

Other Requirements:

  1. The use of the materials is an integral part of the class session.
  2. The use of the materials is directly related to the teaching content.
  3. The use of the materials is comparable to what takes place in an in-person classroom setting.
  4. Use of the materials is made by, at direction of, or under the actual supervision of the instructor.

If all eight of these requirements are not met, the fair use exception may still cover the use.