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Copyright Guide

This is a guide to copyright information and issues for Spalding University faculty and students prepared by Spalding University Library. Information in this library guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal co

Online Education

It would seem logical that you should be able to transmit the same performances and displays that you are lawfully able to use in the traditional classroom.  But you cannot, at least not without satisfying a list of requirements.  Even then, entire movies cannot be shown via your online class. In 2002, Congress passed the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act, or TEACH Act Section 110(2)'s, to allow the performance and display of copyrighted works for online distance education purposes.  Section 110(2)'s  expanded rights:

  • Transmitting performances of all of a non-dramatic literary or musical work: Non-dramatic literary works as defined in the Act exclude audiovisual works; thus, examples of permitted performances in this category in which entire works may be displayed and performed might include poetry or short story reading. Non-dramatic musical works would include all music other than opera, music videos (because they are audiovisual), and musicals.
  • Transmitting reasonable and limited portions of any other performance: This category includes all audiovisual works such as films and videos of all types, and any dramatic musical works excluded above.
  • Transmitting displays of any work in amounts comparable to typical face-to-face displays: This category would include still images of all kinds.

In order to successfully fit within the TEACH Act exception, all of its requirements must be met. Section 110(2) applies when you post materials online, you are transmitting them.  The transmission of performances (movie clips, music) and displays (text, images, photos, graphics, etc.). Transmission moves the activity out of the much friendlier 110(1) (applies to the traditional face-to-face classroom where anything goes) and thrusts it straight into the relatively hostile regions of 110(2).

  • Accredited nonprofit educational institution                             
  • Institutional copyright use policy
  • ​Educational materials on copyright available
  • Work is not a digital educational work                          
  • Work is lawfully made and acquired                                                  
  • Work is integral to class session                                                               
  • Work is part of systematic mediated instructional activities                      
  • Work is directly related/material assistance to teaching                            
  • Work is: 
    • Nondramatic literary work (may use all)                                           
    • Nondramatic musical work (may use all)                                                    
    • Reasonable and limited portion of any other work (for a performance)                                               


  • Display of any work in amount analogous to live classroom setting
  • Reception limited to students enrolled in course                                        
  • Reasonable downstream controls instituted
    • No retention of work longer than class session and
    • No dissemination beyond recipient                                                            
  • For conversions of analog to digital
    • No digital version available to institution or  
    • Digital version available is technologically protected
  • Warning notice to students present on work

TEACH Tools: Checklist, Guides, Vocabulary