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Copyright for Faculty: TEACH Act Authorizations

A guide to copyright in the classroom. Includes an overview of Copyright Law, common scenarios, Fair Use Guidelines, The TEACH Act, and useful tools for guiding decision-making.

Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002

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

Amended 110(2) of the Copyright Law and is intended to facilitate the use of copyrighted materials, without permission, in asynchronous, web-based distance educational settings

TEACH Act (Teach Act, Amending Copyright Law, Section 110(2))


  • This Act gives certain authorizations that speak to the virtual classroom and performances or displays of copyrighted work.
  • If you are allowed by Copyright Law to do something in the live classroom, you may also do it in the virtual classroom so long as you impose certain technological limitations.
  • If you are not allowed by Copyright Law, to do something in the live classroom, you may not do it in a virtual classroom either. 

TEACH Act Authorizations


  • Performances of non-dramatic literary works & music.
  • Performances of ANY work in “reasonable & limited portions.”
    • If you’d like to perform more than a portion of a dramatic work (say an entire film), you might be able to do so if it qualifies as Fair Use (link).
  • Displays of almost any work you could display in a live classroom.
    • Not outside readings, course packets, or entire reserve books.

Sample Copyright Notice

Sample Copyright Notice

"The materials on this course web site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated."

You might consider adding this notice to your Moodle course pages where you've posted copyrighted resources. While not strictly necessary, it is a sign of good faith and a helpful reminder to students of their responsibilities. 

TEACH Act Limitations


  • The works transmitted must be a part of regular instruction at a non-profit educational center.
  • The works must be directly related to the teaching elements (not for entertainment purposes).
  • The works must be a legally obtained copy. Excludes a performance or display “that is given by means of a copy…that is not lawfully made & acquired.”
  • The faculty/institution must employ “technological measures that reasonably prevent retention of the work in accessible form by recipients of the transmission from the transmitting body or institution for longer than the class session.”
    • Post works that can’t be downloaded or downloaded in their entirety (streaming is best).
    • Password protected so that they are only accessible to currently enrolled students (Moodle or Canvas).
    • Removed after the class has ended. 

Legal Disclaimer

This guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

Creative Commons License