An overview of copyright as it pertains to instructors and students


The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2002 creates some exceptions for instructors at nonprofit educational institutions. 

Under the TEACH Act, you may

  • Make copies of copyrighted material for in-classroom use
  • Display copyrighted material in the classroom
  • Provide access to digital versions of copyrighted material while you are virtually present. For example, if you want to put a copyrighted video up on Blackboard, you have to be available online (perhaps via videoconferencing or live chat) while you are showing it.

Under the TEACH Act, you may NOT

  • Put copyrighted materials on electronic reserve or in course packs (Depending on the circumstances, there may be other exceptions that allow this, but the TEACH Act is not one of them).

If you use materials under the TEACH Act, you MUST

  • Restrict access to them to currently enrolled students
  • Make every effort to keep your students from making or retaining copies

Other Exceptions

The First Sale Doctrine states that if you purchase a copy of a copyrighted work, you have the right to lend or sell it as you see fit. This is what allows students to re-sell their used books and libraries to lend their books out.

The Libraries and Archives Exemption enables libraries to provide interlibrary loan, make archival copies for preservation purposes, and move copyrighted works in obsolete formats to current media. (Note that VHS is not yet considered obsolete.)