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Copyright, Fair Use, DMCA & The TEACH Act

This research guide is designed to help faculty in the usage of copyrighted material in online instruction. This guide is not a substitute for legal advice.


"The Congress shall have Power To… promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."   United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8

Although that above statement from the U.S. Copyright Act seems absolute, a healthy copyright system must balance the need to provide strong economic incentives through exclusive rights against the need to protect important public interests like free speech and expression. 

Fair Use defends that balance by attempting to prevent copyright from imposing burdens that might inhibit, rather than create, innovation, knowledge, and learning.  One important thing to know about Fair Use is that it is a DEFENSE, rather than a right.

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act is a provision of US Copyright law that regulates the use of copyrighted materials in distance education courses.  Although it allows for some latitude, it also has some limitations, which are covered further in the TEACH Act page of this guide.



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