I. TEACH Act Defined
The TEACH Act (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act) is a piece of legislation that offers instructors expanded opportunities for using copyright-protected materials in distance-delivered and electronically-enhanced courses. TEACH does not revise or undercut fair use exemptions which apply to the use of copyright-protected materials in instructional settings. Instead, it exists alongside the principles of fair use in the Copyright Act, expanding the contexts and circumstances under which copyright protected resources may be used by teachers without special permission or licensing in the digital or distance education environment.
II. TEACH Act Worksheet
It should come as no surprise that the TEACH Act is not an easy document to read and interpret. As with most pieces of copyright legislation, TEACH does not spell out in clear and precise terms exactly what copyright-protected materials may or may not be used in a given instructional circumstance. The following TEACH Act Worksheet is designed to assist you in making that determination yourself, as the faculty member is responsible for complying with copyright law and for documenting that compliance. As you work your way down the checklist, keep in mind that TEACH is designed to balance the interests and needs of instructors with the interests and needs of those who have authored content. That balancing act means that judicious restraint and good faith are called for in deciding what copyright-protected materials may be used for instructional purposes and in what amounts.
III. Further Assistance on Using the TEACH Act
If you have reviewed the TEACH Act Worksheet and are still unsure whether or not certain materials may be used under the exemptions of TEACH (or under the exemptions of fair use), then you should contact the University of Alaska's Intellectual Property & Licensing Department for assistance:
Intellectual Property and Licensing for the University of Alaska
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 757560
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7560
IV. TEACH Act Guidelines for Students
The TEACH Act is a relatively new part of copyright law that allows students and instructors to use copyright-protected materials for instructional purposes without obtaining prior permission from the work's author. The TEACH Act does not allow students to use copyright-protected works in many instances, however. In addition, the legislation outlines strict guidelines for students in terms of how they should handle copyright-protected materials posted to a course website by an instructor. The following tip sheet explains some of those rules and guidelines.
V. TEACH Act Online Resources
The Internet is rich with resources that help explain and clarify the TEACH Act. Some of the most helpful links are as follows:
- The TEACH Toolkit -- North Carolina State University
This website offers perhaps the most comprehensive and user-friendly review of the TEACH Act. It presents and summarizes the main points of TEACH in a number of different ways--all of them very accessible. It is largely considered one of the best resources on the topic.
- "New Copyright Law for Distance Education: The Meaning and Importance of the TEACH
Act" -- Prepared for the American Library Association by Kenneth D. Crews
This online article provides an excellent analysis and interpretation of the TEACH Act.
Prepared by a lawyer in the field (and yet accessible to the non-legal expert), the essay does a very good job of outlining the main points of TEACH.
- "The TEACH Act Finally Becomes Law" -- University of Texas
This website also does a decent job of distilling the essence of the TEACH Act. Its TEACH Act checklist (found at the end of the site) is especially simple to fill out and yet very thorough. One of the best there is.
- TEACH Act -- The Actual Senate Report
This website features the text of the senate report that outlines the TEACH Act.
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