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Copyright: Virtual Classroom Instruction

Selected Resources


Distance Education and the TEACH Act: The American Library Association

Enabling and Developing Teaching Tools: Kenneth Crews, Columbia University

TEACH Act Checklist: Georgia Harper, University of Texas

TEACH Act Flow Chart: Duke University




Virtual Classroom Instruction

Virtual Classroom Instruction / Instructional Broadcasting / Distance Learning / Distance Education:

Prior to posting copyrighted works online, ensure that you have the needed copyright permissions. These permissions may be obtained:

* from the copyright holder (instructor being the copyright holder, permission letter from the copyright holder, permission via the Copyright Clearance Center, Logan Library license agreement, etc.), 

* by linking to the copyrighted work (not copying the copyrighted work),

* by the work being in the public domain,

* by the work being covered under fair use, or

* by using a statutory exception, like the TEACH Act.


TEACH Act: The Technology, Education, And Copyright Harmonization Act (2001) revised federal copyright law to extend the exemption from copyright infringement liability for virtual instruction when course materials are digitally transmitted to officially enrolled students in a specific, official course at an accredited, non-for-profit educational institution for the duration of the class session. This allows the performance and display of reasonable and limited portions of any copyrighted work that is an integral part of the class session and directly related to the teaching content in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a traditional / face-to-face, live classroom session, by or in the course of a transmission. Course instruction is by the instructor as an online or hybrid (online + traditional / face-to-face classroom) in live or asynchronous class sessions. Course management systems, such as Angel or Moodle, may be involved.


The TEACH Act exception allows the transmission of:

* Entire performances of nondramatic literary works.

* Entire performances of nondramatic musical works.

* Performances of limited and reasonable portions of dramatic literary and musical works, audiovisual works, and sound recordings.

* Displays of works but only in an amount comparable to what would be displayed in a live classroom session. For example: images (photographs, slides, etc.)

* Materials that can be considered supplementary and would not be used in a live classroom setting. For example: Recommended readings.


The TEACH Act exception does not allow:

* Materials to be transmitted that are specifically marketed for educational use.

For example: Textbook materials, electronic reserves, course packet (electronic or paper), interlibrary loan, commercial document delivery, digital content provided under license from the author, publisher, aggregator or other entity.

* Materials to be transmitted that are typically purchased or acquired by students for their research and classroom use or works developed specifically for online uses.

For example: Textbooks and course packets.

* The conversion of materials from analog to digital formats, except when the amount converted is limited to the amount of appropriate works that may be performed or displayed, pursuant to the TEACH Act or a when a digital version of a work is unavailable or protected by technological measures.

* Illegal copies of materials.

The copyrighted materials must be lawfully made or acquired and not specifically designed and marketed for online courses. Do not use work that was (originally) uploaded illegally.


Other important TEACH Act information:

* Materials shared must be given proper credit and copyright notices stating that they may be subject to copyright protection must be displayed.

* Technological measures must be implemented to prevent extended access to the material, as well as unauthorized access or copying.

* The TEACH Act does not supersede fair use or existing digital license agreements.

* While exact measurements of using some types of copyrighted materials are not specified, the following guidelines should help:

Web images posted must be educational in nature

Audio files posted must be 30 seconds or less

Video files posted must be 3 minutes or 10% of the total work, whichever is less

* When in doubt, contact a librarian.