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Copyright for students and faculty: Distance Education Resources

Copyright This guide is intended to provide information about copyright and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have legal questions concerning copyright, please consult appropriate legal counsel.

TEACH Act for Distance & Online classes

Under TEACH:

  • Instructors may use a wider range of works in distance learning environments.
  • Students may participate in distance learning sessions from virtually any location.
  • All participants enjoy greater latitude when it comes to storing, copying and digitizing materials.

TEACH Requirements
In exchange for unprecedented access to copyright-protected material for distance education, TEACH requires that the academic institution meet specific requirements for copyright compliance and education. For the full list of requirements, refer to the TEACH Act at

In order for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education to qualify for the TEACH exemptions, the following criteria must be met:

  • The institution must be an accredited, non-profit educational institution.
  • The use must be part of mediated instructional activities.
  • The use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.
  • The use must either be for 'live' or asynchronous class sessions.
  • The use must not include the transmission of textbook materials, materials "typically purchased or acquired by students," or works developed specifically for online uses.
  • Only "reasonable and limited portions," such as might be performed or displayed during a typical live classroom session, may be used.
  • The institution must have developed and publicized its copyright policies, specifically informing students that course content may be covered by copyright, and include a notice of copyright on the online materials.
  • The institution must implement some technological measures to ensure compliance with these policies, beyond merely assigning a password. Ensuring compliance through technological means may include user and location authentication through Internet Protocol (IP) checking, content timeouts, print-disabling, cut & paste disabling, etc.

Online Use of Copyrighted Works in Courses


Generally, copying and posting materials from a textbook is not allowed. Students should purchase the book instead. The exception to this is when copyright royalties are paid through the copyright clearance center or when written publisher permission has been granted.

Journal Articles

Due to strict copyright agreements with library database vendors, you should not download and post the full text of an article into Blackboard.  However, if the article is full text in one of the library databases (i.e. Ebsco’s Academic Search Complete or JSTOR) you can link the permanent or persistent URL.  For the article to be accessible from off-campus please use the persistent link found by accessing the article through the Foley library Databases.

If the article doesn't have a unique URL or isn't full text, you can arrange to have it put on electronic reserve by contacting the circulation department.  The circulation department will find out if copyright royalties need to be paid through the Copyright Clearance Center.  If you have already requested and received written permission from a publisher to use parts of a work, then be sure to forward it along to circulation staff.


As with articles you should not copy and paste content directly from a website, (unless you have gained permission or the information is in the public domain such as a government publication.) You may, however, link to the website with the understanding that links may disappear or change over time. In general, links are not a copyright problem. In fact, linking straight to a work on another website or in a database is often an effective means for avoiding the copyright concerns about reproduction and the like.


As listed above, links to web pages with media embedded are allowed. It is also possible to order streaming copies of many videos through the library. Commercial media in general may not be converted or digitized unless permission is obtained. The primary exception is for fully online courses. This material is covered by the Teach Act.