City College of San Francisco Copyright Information

Distance Learning and the TEACH Act of 2002

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) updates Copyright Law, “expanding somewhat the scope of educators’ rights to perform and display works and to make the copies to such performances and displays integral for digital distance education. Fair use considerations remain important because the TEACH Act authorizes only a small subset of electronic materials educators may want to make. This Act allows for the digitization of media for the use in an online instructional setting under the following circumstances:

  • Access to the copyrighted works must be limited to students currently enrolled in the class.
  • Access may only be granted for the time period necessary for students to complete the class session.
  • Technology safeguards must be in place to prevent the further copying of the copyrighted works.
  • Technology safeguards must be in place to prevent the distribution of the copyrighted works.
  • The digitization of a work may happen only if there is no commercially available digital version or the digital version that is available has technological measures that prevent its use in an online environment."

(from Pomona College's "Copyright Guidelines:Non Print Media," c2003-2004

For more information about what it provides for distance learning, questions and answers, best practices, and a checklist of what institutions and educators need to know, see:


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