Create: Fair Use and the TEACH Act Quest

posted May 23, 2016, 7:51 AM by Emily Kroutil
Teachers often abuse Fair Use.  I know of many teachers that have copied entire textbooks or workbooks for their students because they do not have a textbook or workbook for their students.  They often state, "I'm using it for education, so it is okay."  This is not necessarily the truth.  An understanding of Fair Use is important as an educator, especially a teacher of online courses, because 1) you don't want to teach your students inappropriate practices regarding Fair Use, 2) you don't want to break copyright laws yourself, and 3) it difficult to tell students not to plagiarize when you are doing the same thing.  In order to try and make sure that you do not violate Fair Use, you should take the following into consideration, as stated in the quest:
  1. Purpose and character of the work.  
    • Are you going to sell it to students?  Probably not okay.
    • Are you going to show/give it to students to help them understand a topic? Probably ok.
  2. The nature of the work.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion in relation to the work as a whole
    • Are you going to make copies of part of the work for your students? Probably ok.
    • Are you going to copy an entire test review book for your students? Probably not ok.
  4. The effect and use on the market or potential market for the original work.
    • Are you going to copy an entire review book and sell to students, thus preventing them from purchasing the book from the publisher?  Probably not ok
    • Are you going to print/use a graphic from the review book to show/give your students? Probably ok.
The Technology, Education, And Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act applies specifically to educators.  According to the quest, it allows copyright exemptions when the following are satisfied:
  • The institution must be an accredited, non-profit educational institution.
  • The use must be part of mediated instructional activities.
  • The use must be limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class.
  • The use must either be for ‘live’ or asynchronous class sessions.
  • The use must not include the transmission of textbook materials, materials “typically purchased or acquired by students,” or works developed specifically for online uses.
The TEACH Act and Fair Use help online and educators in brick-and-mortar environments deliver reliable content because they allow educators access to a variety of resources for their students.  As long as the teacher is satisfying the criteria of each, they can give their students access to materials that are factual, engaging, and authentic.  Teachers do not have to "reinvent the wheel".  With the TEACH Act and Fair Use, teachers can borrow from others to help their students master the content.  This ties in with a few of the other Create quests, because an important part of a teacher's job becomes curating content procured from a variety of sources and using this wide range of materials to help their students learn the course content.
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