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Faculty Services: Copyright for Faculty

Who we are and our goals; what we offer to you and your students, and how you can better integrate library services and information literacy into your courses.


Not all uses in an academic context are automatically considered fair use.

In 2002, Congress passed the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act, or TEACH Act, to allow the performance and display of copyrighted works for online distance education purposes. The TEACH Act only applies to performances of nondramatic literary or musical works in their entirety and limited portions of other works, provided:

  • The instructor is the one who decides to use the work; and
  • A lawfully acquired copy of the work is used; and
  • The work (as a whole or in parts) is relevant to the course; and
  • Access is limited to students enrolled in the course; and
  • Authorized users do not distribute the work to others; and
  • The work is taken down at the end of the semester; and
  • No one interferes with technological measures used by copyright owners of the work to prevent such retention or unauthorized further dissemination.

The TEACH exceptions to copyright are more stringent than the older, face-to-face exceptions. The video to the right goes into more detail. 

Copyright On Campus

Unsure of what you can use in class or on Brightspace within copyright law and the classroom exemption? If you'd like further assistance, please contact a librarian.

Copyright for Campus Closures

The following ten minutes of this larger presentation outlines the differences between teaching online and face-to-face when using copyrighted material.

Streaming Copyright and Education

There are some differences between playing media in your face-to-face classroom and playing media in your online classroom. Fair use classroom exemption protects playing an audio and/or visual work in a physical classroom. In an online classroom, short clips with a copyright notification statement are acceptable, but playing a full work - for example, logging into your personal Amazon Prime account and playing a full movie for a synchronous Zoom meeting - is not. In this example, your Amazon prime account is licensed for you, a single user.

To play a full film for your online class, it is strongly advised that you seek out library acquisition of a work or refer students to where they can personally rent or purchase the film. If you find a free copy of a film online, link rather than embed a copy to ensure that the college LMS does not retain a copy and the college is not liable for potential infringement. 

From Zoom's terms of service: "COPYRIGHT. You may not post, modify, distribute, or reproduce in any way copyrighted material, trademarks, rights of publicity or other proprietary rights without obtaining the prior written consent of the owner of such proprietary rights. Zoom may deny access to the Services to any User who is alleged to infringe another party's copyright."