Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

What is covered by the TEACH Act?

Many uses of media in online instructional settings are covered by the TEACH Act, an amendment to U.S. Copyright Law that expands teachers' ability to present media to their students in an online environment.

It is an instructor's responsibility to ensure that their use of copyrighted materials complies with copyright law. If this checklist shows that the TEACH Act does not apply to your use of media, it is still possible that the regular Fair Use provision of copyright law may apply. Please contact copyright@pcc.edu if you have any questions.

TEACH Act Eligibility Check List

If you are creating content for an official PCC class, you may assume these to be true:

  • You are teaching at an accredited, nonprofit educational institutional or governmental body.
  • You have an institutional policy that addresses the use of copyrighted materials and promotes compliance with U.S. copyright law.
  • You as the instructor are individually responsible for copyright compliance.
  • Your institution provides educational resources that accurately describe copyright rights and responsibilities.
  • Your institution has implemented reasonable measures to prevent retention of the works for longer than the class session. PCC is hosting the video on the streaming server and will not give a downloadable version to students.
  • Your institution has implemented reasonable measures to prevent unauthorized further dissemination by the recipients.
  • There is a notice accompanying the work notifying students that the work may be protected by copyright.

In addition to the criteria above, the following must also be true:

  • The work is a non-dramatic literary or musical work.
  • The work is an integral part of the class session.
  • The work is part of systematic mediated instructional activities. This means you will facilitate the students' use of the work.
  • The work is directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content.
  • You will display an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of an in-person classroom setting.
  • You will only make the work available to students during the relevant instructional module. It should not be available for the entire length of the course.
  • The work will only be available to students who are enrolled in the course.
  • The work was lawfully made and acquired.
  • The work was not created as a digital educational work. If it was, the TEACH Act does not apply.
  • The work is not a textbook, course pack, or other commercial educational work. If this is a title students would otherwise be required to purchase for your class, it will not be covered by the TEACH Act.
  • There is no reasonably priced streaming version of the work available to the institution.

Adapted with permission from North Carolina State University's Copyright Administration Assistant, Peggy E. Hoon, J.D.

Recommended websites

Brief Guide to TEACH
From the Copyright Clearance Center
Distance Education and the TEACH Act
History and background of the Act. Produced by American Library Association.
From Stanford University
§ 110. Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays
The section of the Copyright Law that supports the Teach Act. See also: § 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems.
The TEACH Act Toolkit
An excellent resource published by North Carolina State University. It includes two checklists, and some wording that instructors can use in their online courses.