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Copyright and Using Materials in Your LMS: TEACH Act Information

Keepin' it Simple!

What exactly can I put in my course?

  • Portions of books, journal articles, and other print resources that fall within Fair Use.
  • Materials created by the instructor for the course.
  • Copyrighted materials for which the instructor has obtained permission and supplied written documentation of that permission.
  • Works or sections of works in the public domain. 


What should I avoid putting in my course?

  • Personally reproduced versions of copyrighted films, television programs, documentaries, sound recordings, etc.
  • Excessive portions of copyrighted works that exceed fair use.
  • Course packs.
  • Works prohibited by licensing restrictions.

Tips & Tricks to Remember

  • Anything posted in your course should be evaluated with the four fair use factors.  Check out the Fair Use Tab.
  • Remember to link not copy if possible.  In many of the library databases, materials include a persistent link that you can use in your course.
  • Warner Library can assist you by placing things on Course Reserves.   In order to keep journal articles and book chapters on reserve for multiple semesters, we need to obtain copyright permission from the copyright holder.

(received information from Florida State University Copyright Resources Libguide)


Copyright law makes special exceptions for educational use, in addition to Fair Use, to provide educators with the materials they need to teach their students in physcial classrooms.  When these allowances were made they were specifically related to in classroom use.  With the emergence of distance learning and more specifically online classes the TEACH (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmionization) was created to accomodate instructors of the classes to provide materials to their students through course management systems such as Brightspace or Moodle.  Below is the act as stated in the law:

The TEACH Act amended the Copyright Act teaching exemption found at 17 U.S.C. § 110(2) to permit certain performances or displays of copyrighted works in a distance learning environment. In order for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education to qualify for the exemptions under the TEACH Act, the following criteria must be met:

  • The teaching must occur at an accredited, nonprofit educational institution.
  • Only lawfully acquired copies may be used.
  • Use is limited to performances and displays. The TEACH Act does not apply to materials that are for students' independent use and retention, such as textbooks or readings.
  • Use of materials must be within the context of "mediated instructional activities" analogous to the activities of a face-to-face class session.
  • The materials to be used should not include those primarily marketed for the purposes of distance education (i.e. an electronic textbook or a multimedia tutorial).
  • Only those students enrolled in the class should have access to the material.
  • Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent students from distributing the material after viewing it.
  • If a digital version of the work is already available, then an analog copy cannot be converted for educational use.
  • Students must be informed that the materials they access are protected by copyright.
  • The educational institution must have a policy on the use of copyrighted materials and provide informative resources for faculty advising them on their rights.

TEACH Act Resources

Here are some resources to help you determine the best ways use library resources in online classes.