Congress recently updated the Copyright Law to provide exemptions for the use of certain works in distance education courses. The TEACH (Technology, Education and, Copyright Harmonization) Act allows the incorporation of certain kinds of materials into distance-education materials without the permission of the copyright holder. This exemption is fairly narrow, however. For an excellent discussion of this act and the types of uses it authorizes, see http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/teachact.html#checklist.
If you would like to use copyrighted work in your distance education course, you should first conduct the analysis described above to determine if your proposed use constitutes Fair Use or fits within the Safe Harbor Guidelines. If your proposed use would not be in compliance with those guidelines or Fair Use, you should contact the Fair Use Committee for guidance as to whether the TEACH Act would authorize your proposed use. The TEACH Act does not apply to your use of reserve or other materials in your non-distance- learning courses.
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