Why Do I Want to Know about the TEACH Act?
The TEACH act can help you connect your students electronically with media (sound, video, etc.) outside of class. For example, rather than putting film clips or recordings on reserve for your students to view or listen to on-site, the TEACH act allows you to make these formats accessible online (with some limitations), allowing your students to view/listen directly from their home/dorm desktop.
- The TEACH act provides exemtions to [U.S.] copyright for distance education similar to the exemptions already in place for in-class instruction.
- TEACH is valid only in the United States. Other countries may or may not have similar laws.
- TEACH does not change Fair Use, nor does it in any way further limit current U.S. copyright law. Though it may not be as broad as educators would like, it does give us more options than we had previously concerning digital media.
There are 4 basic categories of conditions that have to be met for the TEACH act exemptions to apply: Institutional, Technological, Instructional and Categories of Works
- The institution must be an accredited, non-profit educational institution. It must have explicit copyright policies and inform its faculty and students of copyright law and of copyrighted materials.
- Access must be limited to officially enrolled students (through password or some form of authentication).
- Measures to reasonably prevent the retention of work in accessible form by the recipients must be applied.
- Institutions must prevent recipients from having access to the material for longer than the class session [the amount of time they are logged in to the institution's server], and must also prevent the unauthoraized dissemination of the work by recipients to others.
- Converting Analog to Digital: The institution may convert from analog to digital the portion allowed under 110(2) if:
- No digital version of the work is available to the institution, or
- The digital version has anti-piracy controls on it.*
* Though it clearly restricts fair use (among other exemptions), it currently remains illegal to circumvent anti-piracy controls, even if the work is available only in digital form and is protected by anti-piracty software. The Librarian of Congress has indicated when such software may legally be circumvented. Hopefully in the future his list of approved reasons for circumventing this software will be expanded to include the above circumstances.
What? - The amount of the work displayed must correspond with what might be shown in a classroom setting.
- By, at the direction of, or under the actual supervision * of the instructor;
- As an integral part of a class session * ;
- As part of systematic mediated instructional activities * ; or
- Directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content.
4. Categories of Works
- Works that were produced primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmited via digital networks may not be used.
- Unlawful copies may not be used.
- Actual Supervision does not mean that real time supervision or prior approval is necessary. A student or TA could post such material.
- Class Session : as long as a student is logged on to the institution's server. This may vary from student to student or course to course. Materials may remain on the server for the duration of use in one or more courses and may be accessed by a student each time the student logs on.
- Mediated Instructional Activities : integrated part of class experience; under control or actual supervision of instructor; analogous to the kinds of displays or performances that would happen in a live classroom setting.