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Copyright - UMA & OCLS: Film/Video

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Streaming and Online Video for UMS Libraries

The "Teach Act"

How can you make sure your online students get to experience everything your face-to-face students are seeing/hearing?

In 2002, the U.S. Copyright Office passed a law, the "Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act".  It created a greater amount of flexibility for faculty who taught online, in terms of media and other dynamic content.  Like other aspects of teaching, when choosing materials and requesting digitization of those materials for use in an online class, we urge you to fill out and retain a copy for your records of the 'Fair Use Checklist'

You may occassionally find a film or a clip of a documentary, a full documentary or a short clip of a major motion picture--uses of dynamic content (like films) in online classes is an option--we just have to follow the guidelines.  There are duties to ensure this happens--for the Institutional Policymakers, Information Technology Officials, and naturally for the instructors as well.  So that you know what you need to do, here is a short description of works included/excluded:  

Works explicitly allowed. Previous law permitted displays of any type of work, but allowed performances of only "nondramatic literary works" and "nondramatic musical works." Many dramatic works were excluded from distance education, as were performances of audiovisual materials and sound recordings. The law was problematic at best. The TEACH Act expands upon existing law in several important ways. The new law now explicitly permits:

  • Performances of nondramatic literary works;
  • Performances of nondramatic musical works;
  • Performances of any other work, including dramatic works and audiovisual works, but only in "reasonable and limited portions"; and
  • Displays of any work "in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session."

Works explicitly excluded. A few categories of works are specifically left outside the range of permitted materials under the TEACH Act. The following materials may not be used:

  • Works that are marketed "primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital networks"; and
  • Performances or displays given by means of copies "not lawfully made and acquired" under the U.S. Copyright Act, if the educational institution "knew or had reason to believe" that they were not lawfully made and acquired.

The first of these limitations is clearly intended to protect the market for commercially available educational materials. For example, specific materials are available through an online database, or marketed in a format that may be delivered for educational purposes through "digital" systems, the TEACH Act generally steers users to those sources, rather than allowing educators to digitize the upload their own copies."