In addition to Fair Use, title 17 of the United States Code, section 110(1) permits the display and performance of others’ works in the face-to-face classroom. An instructor may show or perform any work related to the course curriculum in a face-to-face setting regardless of the medium including music, images and movies. For example, an instructor can show an entire film in class without obtaining permission. However, the instructor must use a lawfully acquired copy of the work.
The following is not an infringement of copyright:
“[P]erformance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless in the case of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title, and that the person responsible for the performance knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made;” (17 USC section 110(1))
Faculty and students do not have to seek permission to perform or display any copyrighted work in the course of face-to-face teaching in a classroom.
“Perform” means to show a film or video, recite a poem, read or act out a play, etc. and “display” means to show a copy either directly or by means of a projection.
For a motion picture or an audiovisual work it must be a copy that is lawfully made or purchased.
This exception does not include the right to make or distribute copies or to make derivative works based on the works that are performed or copied.
The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH ACT) became law in 2002 (it revised 17 U.S.C. section 110(2)). The TEACH ACT only applies to accredited nonprofit educational institutions and it is quite complex. However, when applicable it expands the scope of an instructor’s right to perform and display works for digital distance education. Prior to the passing of the TEACH ACT, there were severe limitations on what could be performed in a distance education course. Although it makes the rights closer to what is available in the traditional face-to-face teaching environment, there is still a gap between the two. In some cases, it may be easier or more applicable to rely on the Fair Use factors (see Fair Use tab) when dealing with electronic teaching tools. The TEACH ACT only applies to in class performances and displays. Therefore, digital delivery of supplemental reading materials and other electronic resources used or made available to students outside of the digital classroom are not covered by the TEACH ACT, however the CONFU multi media guidelines may apply. (See box below)