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Copyright and Fair Use

Information on copyright and fair use exemptions.


Fair Use in the Classroom

In 2002, the United States Congress passed the 17 U.S.C. § 110 - U.S. Code or TEACH Act to clarify some of the copyright issues created by the advent of digital media. While educators welcomed these clarifications, copyright and fair use remains a complicated part of academic life.

The following is from the Guide to the TEACH Act (University of Georgia)

Is a teacher allowed to print anything from the web and make copies to distribute to his or her students?
Yes, within the boundaries of fair use and the Guidelines on Multiple Copying for Classroom Use. There are word and other limitations within the guidelines as well as the one-term restriction on use. Another alternative is simply to provide the students with a link to materials on the web which entirely avoids printing and distribution by the teacher.

What issues are there for students printing material from a password protected course?
None. The real issues involve whether and under what conditions the teacher may make the material available to the students so that it may be downloaded or printed. If this is done correctly, then when a student either prints or downloads the material, it is not infringement.

For more information TEACH Act Guide (University of Texas Libraries)


Showing films in the classroom

Faculty are permitted to show feature length films in the classroom.

Learn more about the TEACH Act and showing films in the classroom in this American Library Association document.

"17 U.S.C. § 110(1) permits “the performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction....” It applies to showing of entire films, and also to those that involve less extensive clips from one or several sources.

This provision contains several noteworthy limitations. First, it applies only to face-to-face teaching activities, not distance education. The exceptions that apply to distance education are found in the TEACH Act, 17 U.S.C. § 110(2), and the fair use privilege, 17 U.S.C. § 107."
This section in the Guide to the TEACH Act might also be helpful: Providing Online Access to Materials Performed or Displayed

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