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Copyright at American University

This guide is to provide a basic understanding of copyright laws including important exemptions that apply to the American University community.

TEACH Act - Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (2002)

The TEACH Act is a copyright exemption that was created to benefit distance education teaching and learning.  It addresses the use of copyrighted materials in teaching in an online environment.  Even if a class is taught in a face to face setting, anything that is provided through a course delivery systems, such as Blackboard, could fall under the TEACH Act. Fair Use is an alternative exemption that could be used for similar purposes. The TEACH Act differs in that it's provisions and restrictions are more precisely defined and overall it is more limiting to the amount of content that could be provided online than a Fair Use justification might encompass.

Finally licensing materials for online use is another alternative if a distributor has a means for providing it. The TEACH Act differs most clearly from licensing in that it doesn't coast anything and it covers the use of portions of a work (versus the whole) and under very specific parameters that in most cases wouldn't be necessary for licensed works.

The TEACH Act applies to any non-profit, accredited educational institution. .

The TEACH Act's emphasis is on materials that would ordinarily be displayed in the live classroom. It does not cover the use of textual materials such as articles.