The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 (the “TEACH Act”) updated the Copyright Act to provide exceptions for performing and displaying copyrighted works in distance education courses.

The exceptions apply when a number of criteria are met, both by the institution offering the course and the instructor teaching the course.
First, the institution must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be an accredited, non-profit education institution;
  • It must institute a copyright policy ;
  • It must provide informational materials to faculty, students, and staff that accurately describe, and promote compliance with, United States copyright law; and
  • It must provide notices to students that materials used in their course may be subject to copyright protection.

Second, various technological limitations must be in place:

  • Retention of the work in an accessible form must be reasonably limited to the class session;
  • Unauthorized further dissemination of the work must be reasonably limited;
  • Interference with copyright owners’ technological measure to prevent retention and dissemination is prohibited;
  • Access to the material must be limited to students enrolled in the course; and
  • Material maintained on the institution’s network or system must be limited in access to its intended recipients and for only the time necessary to provide access to those recipients.

Finally, the instructor is responsible for ensuring the use of the work meets the following conditions:

  • The performance or display of the work must be made by, at the direction of, or under the supervision of, the instructor;
  • The performance or display must be an integral part of the class session;
  • The performance or display must be directly related, and of material assistance, to the teaching content; and
  • The performance must be of a reasonable and limited portion of the work (unless, it is a nondramatic literary or musical work, in which case the entire work may be performed), or the display must be in an amount comparable to what would be displayed in a live classroom session.

Teach Act Checklist

Fort Lewis College has prepared a checklist to assist faculty members in assessing whether the use of copyrighted work falls within the TEACH exception. If your proposed used does not fit with the TEACH Act exceptions, there still may be other means by which to use the material, such as being in the public domain, being available under license, or being available through fair use.

Download TEACH Act Checklist