As the availability of web-based resources has grown, and we can
easily scan, upload, store and copy such resources--not only
text-based materials, but imagery and sound recordings as
well---instances of possible copyright infringement become more
likely and more numerous. The growth of distance education, in
particular, "has accelerated the use of copyrighted materials on
the Internet and in other networked systems" (Crews 67). To address
the complicated copyright issues that are involved in distance
education, Congress passed the TEACH Act (Technology, Education,
Copyright Harmonization Act) in 2002. The TEACH Act revises Section
110 (2) of the U.S. Copyright Act by allowing instructors to use
digitized copyrighted materials in distance education within
While the Fair Use Doctrine emphasizes the responsibility of the
individual instructor, the TEACH Act recognizes that copyright
compliance must also be the responsibility of the institution. The
law requires that institutions use technology to prevent abuse of
copyrighted materials by "limiting access to enrolled students,"
and "ensuring there are technological controls on retention and
In order to be sure, therefore, that you are adhering to Fair
Use and the TEACH Act, your online learning courses or eClass pages
should only be accessed via a password distributed only to students
enrolled in these courses, and--once the course is
finished--students should no longer have access to the copyrighted
materials used in the course.
Kenneth D. Crews writes that the TEACH Act "offers benefits
along with limits and responsibilities" (67). Unlike the flexible
terms of Fair Use, the limitations in the TEACH Act are "highly
detailed and are generally exacting in their definitions of allowed
uses of copyrighted works" (Crews 68). For more information on the
TEACH Act, see Distance Education and the TEACH Act from the
American Library Association.
The Mount has developed a TEACH Act Checklist to
help instructors comply with the more “exacting” requirements of
the TEACH Act. The checklist should be completed and retained for
each distance education course.
If you have further questions or are working with a more
complicated scenario not addressed in these guidelines, please
contact Cathleen Kenny, Vice President for Finance and
Administration, 845-569-3210 or Cathleen.Kenny@msmc.edu,
who is liaison to our college attorneys.