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Copyright @SVCC: Copyright in the LMS

Basic introduction to copyright in the educational environment.

In the LMS: What Does the Law Say?

Section 110. Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the following are not infringements of copyright:

(2) except with respect to a work produced or marketed primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital networks, or a performance or display that is given by means of a copy or phonorecord that is not lawfully made and acquired under this title, and the transmitting government body or accredited nonprofit educational institution knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made and acquired, the performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work or reasonable and limited portions of any other work, or display of a work in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session, by or in the course of a transmission...

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act

17 U.S.C. Sections 110(2) & 112, Revised

The TEACH Act was enacted in 2002 to address challenges unique to online education. Revisions to the law resulted a number of additional requirements for distance learning that do not apply to face-to-face teaching.

Institutional Requirements

  • applies to accredited, nonprofit educational institutions
  • for online distance learning in live or asynchronous class sessions
  • use of material must be part of the school’s mediated instructional activities
  • under the direction or supervision of an instructor in the context of classroom instruction
  • access is limited to a specific number of students enrolled in specific courses
  • the institution must have a copyright policy that is made available to faculty, staff and students

Technology Requirements

  • access is limited to the extent possible to enrolled students enrolled by means of passwords or other authentication
  • students must be notified that material may be subject to copyright protection (statement placed on every item used)
  • technological measures must ensure students don’t keep or distribute copyrighted materials beyond the class session
  • the institution must not do anything to circumvent anti-piracy protection

Resource Requirements

  • the work displayed or performed must be lawfully made and acquired (not copied from the internet)
  • there may be a limit on how much material can be used (Fair Use)
    • no limit on nondramatic literary or musical works (like poems and songs)
    • “reasonable and limited portion” of any other kind of work - similar to the amount that would be used in a typical class session
  • for videos, streaming is preferable to copying
  • in addition to copyright notice provide a citation or other author attribution to the original material


Using Learning Management Systems

Guidelines and best practices from Copyright Clearance Center


New roles, rules and responsibilities for academic institutions by Copyright Clearance Center

T.E.A.C.H. Act Checklist

Downloadable checklist by Indiana University of Pennsylvania Libraries


Educational Use and the Teach Act

Educational Use and Teach Act
by Sarah Morehouse on YouTube


This library guide is published for informational purposes and should not be interpreted as a substitute for legal advice.
Creative Commons License
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