Under the Copyright Act, instructors are permitted to perform or display copyrighted materials during a face-to-face classroom activity. This exception does not permit instructors to distribute or copy copyrighted materials, only to perform or display. In addition, the Agreement on Guidelines for Classroom Copying in Not for Profit Educational Institutions with respect to Books and Periodicals (a copy of which may be found beginning on page 7 of Circular 21, "Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians" published by the United States Copyright Office permits limited copying without permission for use in the classroom.
Distance Learning and the TEACH Act
In 2002, Congress passed the Teaching, Education, And Copyright Harmonization Act (“TEACH Act”). The TEACH Act expanded higher education’s ability to perform and display copyrighted works in digital online instruction. As an amendment to copyright law, the TEACH Act allows educators to transmit copyrighted works without permission from the copyright holder, provided certain conditions are met. The TEACH Act creates a safe harbor for institutions. Individual instructors who commit copyright infringement remain liable under the TEACH Act.
TEACH Act FAQs
Visit North Carolina State University’s TEACH Act Toolkit’s Frequently Asked Questions, written by Peggy E. Hoon, NC State 2002.