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The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH) was signed into law on November 2, 2002. This act updates copyright law in the area of digital distance education and, if numerous requirements are met, facilitates the use of copyrighted materials in digital distance education efforts without having to obtain prior permission from the copyright owner. It is an effort to simulate the face-to-face instruction exception in copyright law.
TEACH is a compromise between the needs of academe to make free use of copyrighted materials as an efficient and effective teaching tool, and the needs of copyright holders to protect the value of their work effort. Most of the TEACH requirements are designed to allow transmission of copyrighted works (or parts thereof) to a legitimate student audience for a limited time, without permission or license fees, while preventing dissemination that could undermine the market for the works.
However, TEACH imposes certain requirements on the use of copyrighted materials in distance education. TEACH is more restrictive than the law allowing face-to-face instructional use of copyrighted materials. For uses that fall outside the scope of TEACH, the user should seek permission or evaluate the use under the fair use exemption of the copyright law.
In general, faculty who want to incorporate works into digital transmissions for instructional purposes pursuant to TEACH must: