Skip to main content

Copyright Issues and Resources: TEACH Act

These pages are intended to provide contacts and resources that may assist the UM community in effectively navigating copyright concerns.

Contacts for copyright issues

Tammy Ravas
Associate Professor, Mansfield Library
Visual and Performing Arts Librarian and Copyright Coordinator
(406) 243-4402
tammy.ravas [at]

Wendy Walker
Associate Professor, Mansfield Library
Digital Initiatives Librarian
(406) 243-6004
wendy.walker [at]

Julia Jackman-Brink
Mansfield Library Reserve Materials Supervisor
(406) 243-6730
julia.jackman-brink [at]

Lucy France
University of Montana General Counsel
(406) 243-6786
lucy.france [at]


Prior to the passage of the TEACH Act in 2002, distance education environments were subject to restrictive copyright laws. The TEACH Act attempts to equalize the playing field between face-to-face and distant courses.

Key points to remember when using copyrighted works in distance education environments include:

  • Copyrighted works may not be made freely available on the web: access must be restricted. Use either the Blackboard course module or Mansfield Library's E-Reserve system to restrict access to enrolled students.
  • Instructors may make available only portions of works that are comparable to the amount used in face-to-face classrooms during the actual teaching process. This means that instructors should not post a coursepack of articles online, for example, because presumably a pack of articles would not be distributed for reading during a face-to-face classroom session.
  • Similarly, all copyrighted materials used in distance education courses must be instructor-mediated. These should generally not be passive or optional materials.
  • Use of copyrighted works must directly relate to course content.
  • There are stringent restrictions on the use of dramatic works, such as plays or films. Only 'reasonable and limited' portions may be used.
  • If use of copyrighted works is permissible under Fair Use, yet restricted under the TEACH Act, Fair Use would control.
  • If neither the TEACH Act nor Fair Use applies, the instructor must seek permission from the copyright holder to use the material.

Visual and Performing Arts

Tammy Ravas's picture
Tammy Ravas
Arts and Media Librarian and Copyright Coordinator


MLIB 323

Mansfield Library

University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812-9936

Ph. 406-243-4402


Please remember that any use of copyrighted works is at user discretion subject to the restrictions and other considerations above. Guidance provided by the Mansfield Library, including the contents of this site, should not be considered legal advice.