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Copyright @ UW-River Falls

Have questions about copyright? Check out this guide.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was enacted in 1998. It was an effort to update copyright law to take into account digitally produced and reproduced materials. The act affects Universities in their role as Internet Service Providers and Information Technology Providers. It requires that Universities take reasonable efforts to insure that the copyright protections applying to digital material are in place on their campuses. UWRF has undertaken the necessary steps to be in compliance with this law. Further information on the educational impact of DMCA provided by EDUCAUSE is a good source for more informaiton.

The U.S. Copyright Office provides a summary of the DMCA legislation.

Books on Copyright

Google Book Search


A revision of copyright law affecting universities is The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act, (TEACH Act) which became law in November 2002. The TEACH Act modifies existing copyright law to allow educators to use some copyright protected materials in distance education without gaining prior permission and/or paying royalties without violating copyright law. The general intention of the act was to make the same "fair use" criteria that apply to face-to-face educational contexts also apply to distance education.

The TEACH Act applies only to accredited educational institutions that have stated copyright policies which are made available to faculty, staff and students. In order to comply with the TEACH Act, copyrighted material made available via distance education must, among other things, meet the following criteria:

  1. access must be limited to enrolled students
  2. access must be limited to the time needed to complete the class session
  3. reasonable efforts must be made to prevent students from copying and disseminating the material after they view it
  4. Analog material cannot be converted to a digital format, if it is readily available in a digital format
  5. The material must have been legally acquired initially

All UWRF faculty and staff engaged in distance education should become familiar with the provisions of this law.

More Information

American Library Association:

Distance Education and the TEACH Act

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services Copyright Advisory Office:

Distance Education: The Teach Act, Fair Use and Copyright

Read the TEACH Act