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Stephanie Barbee
DETT 611-9040
February 9, 2014
Assignment 1: Copyright Article Review
The TEACH Act and Distance Education: An Analysis
In the article Copyright and Distance Education, Kenneth D. Crews (2003) clarifies the
policies that encompass the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization Act (TEACH
Act) as they apply to distance education. Crews states that the TEACH Act, codified in Section
110(2) of the U.S. Copyright Act enacted by Congress, has the potential to benefit distance
education (p. 36). An analytical and balanced article, Crews deconstructs a sample of main
points as they pertain to distance education and copyright policy, breaking down the technical
language of the act into more comprehensible syntax. This paper will analyze Crews article,
while addressing the dimensions of intellectual property and the challenges faced by the distance
education community.
Crews (2003) begins his article with an overview on how the TEACH Act reinforces the
vision of distance education. He claims that it is symbolic of Congress recognition of the
growth within the distance education community, and the growing need for resolution between
materials and potential copyright clashes (p. 36). However, he cautions that Congress may not
be as open and flexible as educators may desire, which is obvious in the controls placed on the
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use of copyrighted works (p. 36). Pointing out the benefits of the act, Crews outlines the
institutional and policy requirements, technological requirements, and instructional and planning
requirements. With an emphasis placed on the confusion one faces with the use of copyrighted
materials, Crews presents concepts that enable educators instead of hindering them.
The author addresses the dimensions of intellectual property and challenges distance
education institutions face with the policies of the TEACH Act. Crews (2003) recognizes issues
of copyrighted materials potentially being downloaded or copied, or the illegal use of materials
marketed to students. The author conveys the importance of producing the most progressive
educational model by having access to reputable resources, while facing the challenges of
adhering to the policies within the TEACH Act (p. 36). Unfortunately, this burden rests on
instructors and the institutions in which they are associated. Crews points out that in order to
address the challenges educators face, new provisions of this act now provide an expanded range
of allowable works, removal of restrictions on receiving locations, and the allowance to store and
convert specified content (pp. 36-37). Regardless, the TEACH Act must be applied where
possible, and alternatives should be made readily available when the intellectual property of
other peoples works are in question.
Objective and informative, Crews (2003) presents the material in this article clearly with
language that is coherent and without the overuse of technical terminology. Unfortunately, some
of the material presented in this article was redundant. For example, the author pointed out on
numerous occasions how challenging it is to stay within the boundaries of the TEACH Act.
Additionally, Crews suggests multiple times that instructors focus more on the quality of their
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course and instruction. With that said, his evaluation of the TEACH Act and how it applies to
distance education is undoubtedly thorough. In addition, it is abundantly clear that Crews is
knowledgeable in the areas of development and the implementation of the TEACH Act as it
refers to distance education.
Even with vast knowledge regarding the TEACH Act, the author refrains from the use of
outside sources, resulting in an informative piece that is solely from his perspective. Ultimately,
the author could have strengthened his position by including supplementary research from his
peers. For example, the author lists the benefits of the TEACH Act, but fails to provide any
evidence that these suggestions are documented or reaffirmed in additional literature. With the
potential of infringing upon copyright laws, which may result in severe and expensive
consequences, readers may desire materials substantiated by others when dealing with such a
precarious matter.
Ultimately, distance education instructors rely on the use of copyrighted materials in
order to produce courses with quality content. While there are some redundant statements and
content that lacks support from outside sources, Crews unbiased look at the TEACH Act can
serve as a reliable resource for those in the discipline of education. This article addresses both
the dimensions of intellectual property and challenges faced by those within the distance
education community, while offering suggestions within the confines of the TEACH Act.
Ultimately, this article addresses the importance of striking a balance between protecting those
with copyrights, while simultaneously permitting the use of valuable materials within the
distance education community.
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Crews, K. D. (2003). Copyright and distance education. Change: The Magazine of Higher
Learning, 35(6), 34-39. doi: 10.1080/00091380309604126