There are three exceptions to the exclusive rights in copyright that help serve educational needs:
Face-to-face teaching – Section 110(1)
Allows performance or display of protected material in a face-to-face teaching setting.
Must be in a classroom and at a non-profit educational institution.
Does NOT allow copying. This is an exception to the exclusive rights of performance and display, but not the right of reproduction.
Copying may still be allowed by fair use, however.
Performance and display in the classroom must employ a legally obtained copy – no “bootleg” copy is eligible for this exception, but borrowed copies are OK.
“Transmission” to registered students – Section 110(2), a.k.a. The TEACH Act
Allows digital copies in course management systems under a specific set of conditions.
Text and images may be transmitted (displayed) in amounts comparable to in-class teaching.
Music and video may be used in portions; entire songs may be used if “non-dramatic.”
Access must be restricted to students registered in the course, and notice that the material is protected must be given.
Technological measures to prevent the material from being retained after the course is over or copied to others are required. Streaming of music and video is a good way to meet this requirement.
The institution should have policies and educational programs about copyright in place to take advantage of this exception.
Fair Use – Section 107
A flexible exception that allows socially valuable uses of copyrighted material, including educational copying.
Fair use applies in many situations, but its application is never certain. A good faith decision in each situation is important.
Four factors are balanced to determine fair use:
- The purpose of the use should be for non-profit education. If the use adds to the original in some creative way (like commenting on a poem or making a parody), the fair use argument is stronger.
- Factual material is more susceptible to fair use; creative work like music and art gets stronger protection. Unpublished work also gets more protection
- Use only that amount of the original work that is necessary to accomplish the educational purpose.
- Avoid uses that substitute for purchasing available copies; damaging the market for the original counts heavily against fair use.
For a quick overview of what you can do with copyrighted material in the classroom, see the Know your Copyrights brochure from the Association of Research Libraries.
For more information about the TEACH Act, see the TEACH Act Toolkit from North Carolina State University.
Policy on Electronic Course Content
For help deciding whether course content in Blackboard or some other digital form is fair use or requires copyright permission, consult this policy document adopted by the Academic Council in February 2008.
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