IP: Copyright: Teach Act
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The Internet is renowned as the death of distance; one key area this comes to fruition is with remote education. The Internet enables students to take advantage of geographically diverse educational resources. The problem, however, is sharing the works of Edgar Allen Poe over the network without the Raven cawing "Never more"!
There are four ways that educators can take advantage of material when engaged in distance education over digital networks:
- Acquire permission;
- Use material as permitted by Fair Use; [CRS Report 2006 p 2] (Note that the Teach Act does not alter Fair Use rights) [CRS Report 2006 p 6 citing S Rep 107-31]
- Use material in the public domain;
- Take advantage of Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act as amended by the TEACH Act which permits the use of some material in distance education without authorization of copyright owner and without royalty payments.
The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2002 (the TEACH Act) updated Section 110 of the Copyright Act, entitled “Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performance and displays.” Section 110 creates "Statutory Exceptions" to the Copyright Act. "A statutory exemption means that Congress has determined that certain copyrighted works may be used for a specific purpose without permission of a copyright holder." [CRS Report 2006 p 2] Sec. 110(2) creates certain exceptions for distance education. 17 U.S.C. § 110(2); 17 U.S.C. § 112.
The revisions created by the Teach Act had been recommended in a Department of Education study pursuant to the DMCA. To take advantage of the Teach Act, eligible institutions must comply with certain conditions (availing yourself of the benefits of the Teach Act is optional, not mandatory).
Eligible institutions: Government offices or accredited non profit educational institutions.
"The Act defines “accreditation.” State certification and licensing procedures accredit institutions of elementary or secondary education. Regional or national agencies, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education, accredit postsecondary institutions with respect to an institution as a whole, not on course offerings alone." [CRS Report 2006 p 5 ]
An ephemeral recording is a temporary or incidental copy of a work. Schools and government offices are authorized to make ephemeral copies for the purpose of remote education transmission if such copies are retained only by the institution that made them and are used only for Sec. 110 remote education.
An eligible entity may not make a digital copy of analog content, unless, there is no digital version available, or the digital version that is available is subject to technological protection measures.
"Legislation introduced in the 109th Congress, S. 2686, the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, includes a provision that would grant the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to adopt regulations giving television broadcasters the right to use the broadcast flag in their digital transmissions. At the same time, however, the bill directs the FCC to issue regulations that would expressly permit the use of broadcast-flagged digital television transmissions by government bodies and accredited nonprofit educational institutions for distance education purposes under the TEACH Act." [CRS Report 2006]
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