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Copyright & Fair Use

Understanding the ins and outs of copyright is challenging. The best advice is usually to know where to find the information when you need it, which is why we've compiled this research guide.

Exceptions for Education

Exceptions for Education


There are three principal provisions for making use of copyrighted content for educational purposes.

Provision 1 - Fair Use

Fair Use


The first is fair use, addressed elsewhere in this guide under the Fair Use section.

Provision 2 - Face-to-face Instruction

Face-to-Face Instruction


A second provision pertains to face-to-face instruction.

This video from the University of Illinois provides a good overview of the implications of Section 110 regarding face-to-face instruction:

Provision 3 - TEACH Act



A third provision draws from the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act of 2002 which updates Section §110(2). It is challenging to give a straightforward synopsis of the implications of this legislation. In brief, it expands an educator’s scope to perform and display copyrighted works in digital online instruction including transmission of select kinds of copyrighted content without permission of the copyright holder but limited to certain conditions. The TEACH Act provides some safe harbor for institutions but unfortunately does not decrease the potential liability of individual faculty who engage in copyright infringement.

Additional Legal Resources

More on the TEACH Act


There are several useful resources about implications of the TEACH Act that offer comprehensible guidelines to this dense, complex legislation:

One additional resource from Duke University presents a flowchart to help think through permissible digitization under the TEACH Act:

Here is a resource that outlines exceptions to provisions of copyright within education:

While this is a helpful resource, it is not copyright law nor does it prescribe the extent of copyrighted content that may be determined under fair use.

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