In addition to Fair Use, title 17, section 110(1), of the United States Code 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.
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 (revising 17 U.S.C. section 110(2)). 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. 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. In some cases, it may be easier or more applicable to rely on the Fair Use factors when dealing with electronic teaching tools.