Copyright for Instructors

Changes to federal legislation in 2002 addressed online instruction, enabling faculty to take advantage of technology so that distance education may more closely parallel classroom instruction.

Library services have also changed to meet new instructional situations. For example, the library's Reserve Services will scan book chapters, journal articles, and the like for online access by students meeting in classrooms and online. Instructors may also choose to link student's directly to articles in the library's subscription databases.


TEACH Act: Technology Education And Copyright Harmonization Act

Modifies and addresses existing © law

  • Accredited nonprofit educational institutions
  • Mediated instruction
  • Integral part of class session
  • Limited to enrolled students
  • Accurately informed about © compliance
  • Reasonably preventing
    • Retention beyond course
    • Unauthorized further dissemination

Works Allowed

  • Show entire nondramatic literary works
    • News, poetry, speech
  • Show entire nondramatic musical works
  • Everything else in reasonable and limited portions
    • Plays, movies, operas, TV shows, choreography

Works Not Allowed

  • Works marketed primarily for distance education
  • Unlawfully made or acquired copies
  • Materials meant for additional study outside of class
You must
  • Transmit as an integral part of class session, i.e., a regular part of systematic, mediated instruction
  • Use copyrighted materials only when directly related to the lesson
  • Limit access to students enrolled in the course
  • Have an institutional copyright policy and inform students about it
  • Block further dissemination

TEACH Act Toolkit (NC State)
Exceptions for Instructors: Interactive tool to help instructors determine legal use of copyrighted works. (ALA)


Permission or license to use a copyrighted work is NOT required if:

  • The work is in the public domain.
    • Timeline: When a work becomes public domain
  • The work is a fact or an idea.
  • Fair Use
Fair Use

Determine fair use by considering ALL 4 factors:

  1. Purpose and character of use
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work
  3. Amount, substantiality
  4. Effect

Library of Congress: Fair Use (May 2009)