Copyright Education Exceptions

Classroom Teaching

The U.S. Copyright Act, section 110(1), allows faculty to use copyrighted works when they are in a face-to-face classroom setting or a similar place devoted to instruction.

Use of Copyrighted Works

  • Video – All performances are allowed.  All displays are allowed. See also DMCA
  • Images – All performances are allowed.  All displays are allowed.
  • Text – All performances are allowed.  All displays are allowed. 
  • Music – All performances are allowed.  All displays are allowed.

Distance Education

The U.S. Copyright Act, section 110(2) more commonly known as the TEACH Act, addresses the use of copyrighted works in distance education or through a course management system such as Blackboard.  It governs the transmission of digital works.

TEACH requirements

  1. Provide a link when possible instead of digitizing a work such as a journal article.
  2. Restrict access to only those students enrolled in the course.
  3. Remove materials or disable access as soon as the materials are no longer needed for the course.
  4. All materials used for the course must display a notice that they may be subject to copyright.
  5. Reasonable precautions should be taken to prevent downstream distribution of the copyrighted materials.
  6. If no digital version is available, analog works may be converted but only in the amount that is needed.

Use of Copyrighted Works

  • Video – Reasonable and limited portions are allowed. See also DMCA
  • Images – Display only the amount that would be displayed in a face-to-face classroom setting.
  • Text – Materials that are typically purchased by the students for the course are not allowed to be transmitted.  This would include textbooks and coursepacks.
  • Music – Entire performances of nondramatic musical works are allowed but only reasonable and limited portions of dramatic musical works such as operas are allowed.

If the use of the copyrighted work does not meet the requirements of the education exception (110), then another option is to apply the fair use analysis.