Distance Education and the TEACH Act

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. Long anticipated by educators and librarians, 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.

The new law offers many improvements over the previous version of Section 110(2), but in order to enjoy its advantages, colleges, universities, and other qualified educational institutions will need to meet the law's rigorous requirements. Educators will not be able to comply by either accidental circumstances or well-meaning intention. Instead, the law calls on each educational institution to undertake numerous procedures and involve the active participation of many individuals.

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