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Copyright: TEACH Act

This guide will provide resources on the topic of copyright.


The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) was signed into law on November 2nd, 2002. According to NewsNet, the online newsletter published by the U.S. Copyright Office, the act "amends the Copyright Act to provide increased flexibility for accredited nonprofit educational institutions, as part of “mediated instructional activities,” to use the Internet to provide copyrighted materials to students enrolled in distance education programs."

This section will provide links to more information about how educators can navigate copyright law in the virtual classroom and other online arenas.  This information is especially timely given the dramatic move to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This does not give complete license for educators to show all types of performances in any cases.  Depending on the circumstances, educators may need to acquire permission from the publisher to display to their classrooms, or consult their academic librarians to see if there is a copy that can be purchased or licensed from the publisher or authorized vendor. 

TEACH Act Documentation

U.S. Copyright Office Newsletter on TEACH Act 

The text of the TEACH Act, previously introduced as S. 487, and the Copyright Technical Corrections Act, previously introduced as H.R. 614, may be found through the Legislation page of the Copyright Office website.

Responsibilities of Educational Institutions

Please review the language in Section 110(d) of the U.S. Copyright law regarding the responsibilities of education institutions in relation to the TEACH Act:

(D) the transmitting body or institution—

(i) institutes policies regarding copyright, provides informational materials to faculty, students, and relevant staff members that accurately describe, and promote compliance with, the laws of the United States relating to copyright, and provides notice to students that materials used in connection with the course may be subject to copyright protection; and

(ii) in the case of digital transmissions—

(I) applies technological measures that reasonably prevent—

(aa) retention of the work in accessible form by recipients of the transmission from the transmitting body or institution for longer than the class session; and

(bb) unauthorized further dissemination of the work in accessible form by such recipients to others; and

(II) does not engage in conduct that could reasonably be expected to interfere with technological measures used by copyright owners to prevent such retention or unauthorized further dissemination

Teach Act Best Practices

Films on Campus

Although KCTCS is an accredited, nonprofit educational institution, that status does not include public performance rights for documentaries, educational films, popular movies, etc., whether or not an admission fee is charged.  In order to qualify for educational use under the TEACH Act, a film shown on campus must:

  • be part of mediated instructional activities.
  • be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.
  • be for ‘live’ or asynchronous class sessions.

Before showing a film on campus, please secure permission from the copyright holder, either by contacting them directly or using a third party licensing company (such as Swank).