Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 314.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 11:08:14 +0000
From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <email@example.com>
Subject: TEACH ACT BECOMES LAW
News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources
from across the Community
November 4, 2002
TEACH ACT BECOMES LAW
American Library Association Release on Implications
of the "Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act"
"New opportunities [but also] new limits and conditions"
>Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 10:48:56 -0500
>From: "ALAWASH E-MAIL" <ALAWASH@alawash.org>
>To: ALA Washington Office Newsline <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline
>Volume 11, Number 87
>November 4, 2002
In This Issue: Major Copyright Bill Affecting Distance Education
On November 2nd, 2002, the "Technology, Education and Copyright
Harmonization Act" (the TEACH Act), part of the larger Justice
Reauthorization legislation (H.R. 2215), was signed into law by
President Bush. TEACH redefines the terms and conditions on which
accredited, nonprofit educational institutions throughout the U.S. may
use copyright protected materials in distance education-including on
websites and by other digital means-without permission from the
copyright owner and without payment of royalties.
TEACH establishes new opportunities for educators to use copyrighted
works without permission and without payment of royalties, but those
opportunities are subject to new limits and conditions. The American
Library Association joined with numerous other associations and groups
representing educators, librarians, and academic administrators to
negotiate the language of the TEACH Act and to vigorously support its
passage. The process of drafting the TEACH Act necessarily reflected
the views of diverse interests, and some terms we would like to have
seen in the law met with strong opposition from copyright owners
concerned about protecting their creations and preventing widespread
threats to their markets. On the other hand, the ALA and many other
library and education groups were successful in adding many provisions
in the bill that can significantly enhance distance education.
To put the complexity of the issue in perspective, we need to grasp not
only the growth of distance education, but also the magnitude of the
copyright concerns at stake. Many materials that educators use in the
classroom and in distance education are protected by copyright law.
Copyright protection applies to most text, videos, music, images, motion
pictures, and computer software; protection usually applies even if the
work lacks a copyright notice and is not registered with the U.S.
Copyright Office. Unless the work is in the public domain, or you have
permission from the copyright owner, or you are acting within fair use
or one of the specific, statutory exceptions, your copying, digitizing,
uploading, transmitting, and many other uses of materials for distance
education may constitute infringement.
Previous law did include such a statutory exception for the benefit of
distance education, but it was enacted in 1976 and has failed to meet
modern needs. That statute (Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act)
generally encompassed closed-circuit television transmissions, and it
could not foster robust and innovative and digital educational programs
that might reach students at home, at work, or at any other location.
The TEACH Act repeals that statute and replaces it with a more complex,
but more beneficial, revision of Section 110(2) and related provisions.
Among the benefits of the TEACH Act for distance education are an
expansion of the scope of materials that may be used in distance
education; the ability to deliver content to students outside the
classroom; the opportunity to retain archival copies of course materials
on servers; and the authority to convert some works from analog to
digital formats. On the other hand, the TEACH Act conditions those
benefits on compliance with numerous restrictions and limitations.
Among them are the need to adopt and disseminate copyright policies and
information resources; implementation of technological restrictions on
access and copying; adherence to limits on the quantity of certain works
that may be digitized and included in distance education; and use of
copyrighted materials in the context of "mediated instructional
activities" akin in some respects to the conduct of a traditional
Therefore, to secure full benefits of the law, educators and their
colleges, universities, schools, and other qualified institutions will
need to take deliberate and careful steps. Full implementation will
likely involve participation by policymaking authorities, technology
officials, and instructional faculty. Librarians will invariably be
closely involved as they make their collections and other resources
available to students at remote locations. Moreover, you will most
assuredly need to consult legal counsel at your institution to be
certain you are properly implementing the new law's provisions.
To help with this effort throughout the country, the American Library
Association is launching an initiative to provide guidance and to help
interested persons so that they may better understand the new law and
implement its requirements. Please watch for developments at this
dedicated website: http://www.ala.org/washoff/teach.html. We have
posted and will continue to update summaries and explanations of the
law, together with guidance and other information to help the community
enjoy the advantages of the new law and to strengthen innovative
educational programs through the sharing of important information
Moreover, we will take this opportunity for a fresh examination of the
more general law of "fair use" as applied to distance education. Fair
use was, and remains, a vital alternative whenever a more specific
statute-such as Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act-fails to meet your
needs. However, fair use also has limits. In the meantime, you can
find a great deal of information about fair use on numerous websites,
and in many books, including some copyright publications available from
the ALA at http://alastore.ala.org.
We welcome your comments and observations at any time about this
project. For more information, contact Carrie Russell, Copyright
Specialist at ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy,
email@example.com or (800) 941-8478.
ALAWON (ISSN 1069-7799) is a free, irregular publication of the
American Library Association Washington Office. All materials subject to
copyright by the American Library Association may be reprinted or
redistributed for noncommercial purposes with appropriate credits.
To subscribe to ALAWON, send the message: subscribe ala-wo
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the message: unsubscribe ala-wo to email@example.com. ALAWON archives at
ALA Washington Office, 1301 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 403,
Washington, D.C. 20004-1701; phone: 202.628.8410 or 800.941.8478
toll-free; fax: 202.628.8419; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site:
http://www.ala.org/washoff. Executive Director: Emily Sheketoff.
Office of Government Relations: Lynne Bradley, Director; Camille Bowman,
Mary Costabile, Don Essex, Patrice McDermott and Miriam Nisbet. Office
for Information Technology Policy: Rick Weingarten, Director; Jennifer
Hendrix, Carrie Russell, Claudette Tennant. ALAWON Editor: Bernadette
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