Kristine H. Hutchinson


The Teach Act: Copyright Law and Online Education

Kristine H. Hutchinson

In response to an increase in the use of the Internet to distribute distance education courses and resultant concerns that copyright law related to distance education activities had become outdated, Congress passed the Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH Act) in November, 2002. Through this enactment, Congress sought to align educators’ rights to use copyrighted materials in online courses with their rights to use such materials in traditional, classroom-based courses. In this Note, Kristine Hutchinson argues that they did not achieve this result. Rather, she suggests, the Act is fraught with requirements and vague terminology, which have caused confusion amongst educational institutions and have resulted in the failure to take advantage of the Act. In the end, despite the Act’s shortcomings, Hutchinson concludes that the TEACH Act is viable legislation, and offers suggestions to aid educational institutions in making use of the expanded rights to use copyrighted materials in online courses enabled by the TEACH Act.