What Are Some Facts About Copyright Law in an Educational Setting?


Quick Answer

The Copyright Act allows educators or students to use copyrighted material in face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, classroom or a similar place dedicated to instruction. The exception to this rule exists if the material is a motion picture or audiovisual work and the copy shown is one that was unlawfully made.

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Full Answer

The T.E.A.C.H. Act, which passed in 2002, outlines how copyright law relates to online and distance education. Prior to the passing of this act, online educators did not share the same fair use rights as their face-to-face counterparts. However, the T.E.A.C.H. Act has much stricter conditions than does the Copyright Act. The materials must be of the proper type and amount, such as entire performances of nondramatic literary and musical works; the technology must reasonably limit the students ability to retain or distribute the material; the materials must be stored on a secured server; and the educator is not allowed to make any copies of the material besides the one needed to make the transmission.

Not every educational institution uses the T.E.A.C.H. Act, but its use has become increasingly common. Many universities have a checklist that details the T.E.A.C.H. Act's requirements, and the checklists are open to everyone.

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