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This guide is intended for the university community. It summarize standards and requirements established by the TEACH Act.
Last Updated: Dec 18, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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This guide is for the university community to summarize standards and requirements established by the TEACH Act. It is a collaborative project among the following campus units:


    Best Practices

    In summary, if instructors and/or institutions wish to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the TEACH Act for using copyrighted materials, they must reasonably:

    • limit access to copyrighted works to students currently enrolled in the class;
    • limit access only for the time needed to complete the class session or course;
    • inform instructors, students, and staff of copyright laws and policies;
    • prevent further copying or redistribution of copyrighted works; and
    • not interfere with copy protection mechanisms

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q:  Am I required to use and apply the TEACH Act to my distance education program? 

    A:  No. The TEACH Act applies only if you choose to use it. It is one option for the lawful uses of copyrighted works. You can still turn to fair use or licensing.


    The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act  requires that colleges and universities take deliberate steps to comply with laws governing copyright within a distance learning context.

    The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act amended the Copyright Act of 1976, Sections 110(2) and 112. TEACH updates copyright law pertaining to the “transmission” of performances and displays of copyrighted materials.  The “transmission” refers to a communication by any device or process whereby images or sounds are received beyond the place from which they are sent.  Therefore, TEACH is potentially implicated when any distance learning course is offered via the Internet, Telecourses, Interactive, Video Conference, or as a blended course which includes an online component.

    Although TEACH has expanded the scope of educator's rights to perform and display works for digital distance education, there are still considerable inconsistencies between distance education and face-to-face classrooms.  Different laws and rules must be applied when using copyrighted works for distance learning than would be used for face-to-face instruction.  For example, an instructor may show or perform any work related to the curriculum (including still images, music, and movies), in a face-to face classroom.  However, the same instructor would have to condense some of the works for distance students to view.  TEACH states that only “reasonable and limited portions” of audiovisual works and dramatic musical works may be used.

    Through the collaborative efforts of Continuing Education, Information Technology Services - Educational Technology, and the Rod Library the following information has been established to summarize the new standards and requirements established by the TEACH Act. This information represents the deliberate steps taken by the University of Northern Iowa to ensure that we comply with the TEACH Act. 


      Video - TEACH Act and Fair Use

      In this segment from - this segment of his lecture at a music educators' conference at Loyola University New Orleans, entertainment attorney and educator Mark Davis outlines the four things a judge looks for when determining whether fair use applies in a copyright infringement case, and explains how educators can look to the Teach Act for fair use guidelines.

      Campus Group Membership

      Map by Huebi, Wikimedia Commons

      This website is maintained by the TEACH Act group at the University of Northern Iowa.

      • Belle Cowden - Director, Continuing and Distance Education (email) (phone) 319/273-7211
      • Marilyn Drury - Director, ITS Educational Technology (email) (phone) 319/273-6268
      • Kent Johnson - Dean, Continuing Education and Special Programs (email) (phone) 319/273-2122
      • Keith Kennedy - Manager Design & Multimedia Production, ITS Educational Technology (email) (phone) 319/273-7820
      • Ellen Neuhaus - Reference Librarian and Bibliographer, Rod Library (email) (phone) 319/273-3739



        TEACH Act Summary:

        • The purpose of the act is to address the use of course materials for online and distance courses.
        • The act does not attempt to address the uses of supplementary material used solely by students.
        • Materials used in online and distance education classes must be integrated into the instruction and used interactively by the instructor.
        • In general, as with primary copyright law, only portions of a work may be used.
        • The integration and use of materials in the class should not be done in such a way as to circumvent the purchase of materials by students.
        • Fair Use guidelines still apply.

        Fortunately, TEACH Act Section 110(2) does not supersede fair use; that is, if this section does not work for your purposes, fair use is still available. 


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