The use of copyrighted materials in distance education is also governed by the doctrine of Fair Use. However, it is further restricted by the TEACH Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (collectively known as Section 110(2) of U.S. Code Title 17).
Displays of materials related to the class may still be shown, such as pictures, slides, graphs and other still-material. Performances are limited to nondramatic literary or musical works. While no definition is provided for “dramatic” materials, it may be inferred from common definitions that novels or poetry would be allowed, as well as performance of pop music or symphonies. Excluded dramatic works would include stage plays, musical theater, or opera. Unfortunately, audiovisual materials, such as video-recordings and filmstrips, cannot be used in distance learning without copyright permission.
To seek rights for these materials, please refer to the Permissions page.
Further, stipulations of the TEACH Act are:
- only short sections of works that could be used in the time-span given by a common face-to-face class, may be used, and;
- the work can only be displayed to a limited number of students, who are participating in a class at a non-profit, accredited educational institution (Blackboard courses fulfill this requirement).
It is important to note that the doctrine of Fair Use, the Teach Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, only give the exceptions to copyright. Instructors can always seek permissions in order to use full length materials and materials which are not governed by exceptions.