This is the "DMCA and TEACH Acts" page of the "Copyright Basics" guide.
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Copyright Basics  

This guide is intended to provide basic guidelines for copyright compliance at academic institutions.
Last Updated: May 18, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

DMCA and TEACH Acts Print Page

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - 1998


Adapted from "The Campus Guide to Copyright Compliance for Academic Institutions," Copyright Clearance Center (

New Rules

  • Prohibition of unauthorized circumvention of technological measures which control access to or restrict the use of a copyright-protected work.  Such technological measures may involve a password or encryption; breaking the password or encryption is illegal.  Copyright management information includes the title of a work, the name of the author or copyright holder and other identifying information.  Intentionally removing or altering such information violates a provision of the DMCA.
  • The DMCA provides limited liability for university networks acting as Internet service providers (ISPs) for students and faculty, provided that certain requirements are met.

Requirements of the DMCA

  • Appoint a designated agent to receive reports of copyright infringement.  Register the agent with the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • Develop and post a copyright policy.
  • Educate campus community about copyright.
  • Comply with "take down" requests.
  • Apply measures to protect against unauthorized access to content and dissemination of information.
  • Use only lawfully acquired copies of copyrighted works.

Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act), 2002

Adapted from "The Campus Guide to Copyright Compliance for Academic Institutions," Copyright Clearance Center (

  • TEACH Act broadens the scope of materials that can be transmitted via digital networks for distance education.
  • Institutions must implement some technological measures to ensure compliance with TEACH Act requirements beyond merely assigning a password.
  • Ensuring compliance through technological means may include user and location authentication through Internet Protocol (IP) checking, content timeouts, print-disabling, cut and paste disabling, etc.
  • The primary purpose of the TEACH Act is to balance the needs of distance learners and educators with the rights of copyholders.

In order for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education to qualify for the TEACH exemptions, the following criteria must be met:

  • The institution must be an accredited, non-profit educational institution.
  • The use must be part of mediated instructional activities.
  • The use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.
  • The use must either be for 'live' or asynchronous class sessions.
  • The use must not include the transmission of textbook materials, materials "typically purchased or acquired by students," or works developed specifically for online uses.
  • Only "reasonable and limited portions," such as might be performed or displayed during a typical live classroom session, may be used.
  • The institution must have developed and publicized its copyright policies.












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