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Copyright for Faculty & Staff: VHS, DVD & Digital Works

A focus on copyright issues which may concern TCC faculty and staff -- including fair use, the TEACH Act, public domain and other copyright exceptions and issues. Nothing in this guide is to be construed as legal advice.


In a face-to-face teaching situation in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction on a Tulsa Community College (TCC) campus, a TCC faculty member can show a lawfully acquired copy of a commercially-recorded, copyrighted, audio visual work (even a rental copy) to students an unlimited number of times without getting prior permission of the copyright holder.


The Technology Education And Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act establishes guidelines for the transmission of copyrighted digital materials to online or distance learning students without the permission of the copyright holder.  The TEACH Act can be used in conjunction with fair use guidelines. 



  • By transmitting the material using the Blackboard courseware package, TCC has satisfied the requirement that the digital material be transmitted by a technologically-protected method that limits the access to the material.
  • The digital material transmitted must be a lawfully-acquired copy of the copyrighted material.
  • The use of the copyrighted material must be “a mediated instructional activity” (under the direction of a TCC faculty member and integral to the course). 
  • The full performance of a copyrighted, nondramatic, literary work (e.g. sound recording of a poem or a piece of literature) or a copyrighted, musical work (e.g. a recorded symphony) may be used.  Only a reasonable and limited portion of a copyrighted, dramatic work (e.g. musical, opera, commercial film, music video) or any other copyrighted work can be used, unless the TCC faculty member can establish that using the entire copyrighted work is essential to the course.
  • Materials which a TCC student is commonly expected to purchase (e.g. workbooks, textbooks, course packs) are not covered by the TEACH Act and can be transmitted only according to the terms of a license or with the written permission of the copyright holder.
  • After the copy of the digital copyrighted work is used by a TCC faculty member or student, the digital work must be inaccessible (hidden) to any further use.


The TCC Guidelines for off-air recording of broadcast programming for educational purposes were developed from the report of a U.S. Congressional subcommittee, specifically for the purpose of applying the "fair use" provisions of U.S. Copyright law to the recording, retention and use of television broadcast programs for educational purposes. These guidelines apply only to off-air taping by TCC, a nonprofit educational institution.  TCC is expected to establish appropriate control procedures to maintain the integrity of these guidelines.



A "broadcast program" is a television program transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge.

A TCC "semester day" is a day in which classes are conducted at TCC--not counting weekends, holidays, vacations, examination periods, or other scheduled interruptions in the TCC academic calendar.



  • A broadcast program may be recorded off-air by TCC simultaneously with broadcast transmission (including simultaneous cable retransmission) and retained by TCC for no more than 45 calendar days after the date of recording. Upon conclusion of the 45-day period, the off-air recording must be erased or destroyed.
  • An off-air recording may not be altered from its original content and may not be physically or electronically combined or merged to form a teaching anthology or compilation.
  • An off-air recording must include the copyright notice used on the broadcast program.
  • An off-air recording may be made only at the request of and used by an individual TCC faculty member and may not be recorded off-air more than once at the request of the same TCC faculty member (regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast).
  • A limited number of copies may be reproduced from each off-air recording to meet the legitimate needs of TCC faculty members under these guidelines. Each such additional copy shall be subject to all provisions governing the original recording.



  • In a face-to-face teaching situation in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction on a TCC campus, a TCC faculty member may use an off-air recording once in the course of relevant teaching activities and repeat the use once when instructional reinforcement is necessary during the first ten(10) consecutive TCC semester-days in the 45 calendar-day retention period.
  • After the first ten (10) consecutive TCC semester-days, an off-air recording may be used up to the end of the 45 calendar-day retention period only for faculty evaluation purposes (e.g. to determine whether or not to include the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum).

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