The TEACH Act
The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act was signed into law in October 2002 and took effect immediately.
What is the TEACH Act?
The TEACH Act revises the section of the U.S. Copyright Act
that governs the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of
education. Specifically it both modifies and clarifies the ways
in which copyrighted material may be used in distance education
by an "accredited nonprofit educational institution," without permission
of the copyright owner. By meeting the requirements of the law (to
use works appropriately), educators can avoid copyright infringement
and the payment of royalties to the owner of copyrighted works.
How does the TEACH Act modify previous copyright law?
The TEACH Act extends earlier permissions granted to educators, but also
specifies new requirements for how far educational institutions must go in preventing
copyright infringement. Educators are only protected under the TEACH Act if
they work for an accredited institution and that institution is in compliance
with the new requirements. In essence the greater freedoms granted to instructors
are balanced with greater responsibility for oversight or management of distance
education at the institutional level.