Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Online Course Sites

The law permits faculty to provide access to copyrighted material for registered students using an online course site such as Canvas, but copyright (and sometimes licensing) restrictions still apply.  

Articles and other materials from library databases are subject to license agreements that specify how database contents may be used. For the majority of our licensed databases, fair use applies, allowing instructors to post scans of individual articles or select book chapters into Canvas for their students to access.

In addition, nearly all database materials can be made available through Canvas by linking to the appropriate database. Linking is just as easy as attaching a PDF.

TEACH Act and Distance Education

The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act of 2001 applies to the performance and display of copyrighted. work. 

It permits instructors of non-profit educational institutions to display audio-visual and other works for distance education courses in a manner comparable to what would be permitted in a live, face-to-face classroom.

Under the TEACH Act, instructors may make available online for student use:

  • full performances of nondramatic literary or musical works (i.e., no plays, musicals, operas, etc.); or
  • "reasonable and limited portions" of dramatic audio-visual or other types of works.

The material must only be made available to students enrolled in a particular course (e.g., under the password-protected auspices of a Course Management System) and only during the time period (e.g., quarter, semester, summer session) of that particular course. In addition, the material must be accompanied by a notice to students that it only be used in accordance with copyright law and the copyright policy of the institution.

For more information about the TEACH Act and how it applies, see this checklist from University of Texas Library

It should be noted that the TEACH Act stands apart from the Fair Use exception. Even if an instructor is unable to make material available to students under the TEACH Act, the use still may qualify for Fair Use protection. 

Quick List for TEACH Act

Quick list for the TEACH Act requirements to use a work in an online class (this is NOT legal advice): 

  • The work must be a legally acquired copy. 
  • The work must be located in Canvas (not on the open web).
  • The work must be for teaching in a UCC course. 
  • The work itself, how you perform or display the work, and the amount of the work that you display must be comparable to what you would have done in a face-to-face class. Preferably, a small amount of the work should be performed or displayed. 
  • This work must be performed or displayed (the TEACH Act does NOT apply to other uses). 
  • The work must NOT be created or licensed specifically for online teaching environments. 

Posting Video & Audio

Audio and video materials can be made available to students online through Canvas:

  • The UCC Library licenses a wide selection of audiovisual material that can be streamed by students using links in Canvas
  • Clips of copyrighted movies and music can also be uploaded to Canvas under Fair Use.

In addition, copyright law provides a classroom exception in section 110(1) allowing instructors to show entire copyrighted works during the course of a face-to-face class session.

Streaming Full-Length Films

Uploading full-length films from DVDs into Canvas is not generally supported by fair use or other exceptions to copyright law. A much better practice is to request an authorized copy of the film for streaming into Canvas.

Please contact the UCC Library for your collection development requests related to streaming video for your courses.

Guide Attribution

The information presented in this guide is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. The content in this guide was adapted from the Copyright guide from NYU Libraries

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License

Umpqua Community College Library, 1140 Umpqua College Rd., Roseburg, OR 97470, 541-440-4640
Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Creative Commons Attribution License