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Virtual instruction

Virtual instruction happens when a course is taught solely online or when parts of a usual face-to-face course are taught using a system like Scholar. Virtual instruction often entails digitizing class materials so students can access them online. This access is authorized under 17 U.S. Code § 110, also known as the 2002 TEACH (Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization) Act.

Use the Exceptions for Instructors tool to determine if your use of copyrighted material qualifief for this exemption. (You can save a PDF of your determination for future reference.)

Example materials

  • Entire performances of nondramatic literary and musical works (a poem or pop music song)
  • Performances of limited and reasonable portions of dramatic literary and musical works, audiovisual works, and sound recordings (a play or musical, movie, or recorded speech)
  • Display of works in amounts similar to in-class settings (a photo or map)
  • Textual materials directly related and of material assistance to teaching content (in class readings)

Prohibited materials

  • Materials marketed for educational use that each student is expected to purchase, like textbooks or coursepacks
  • Illegally obtained materials
  • Supplemental materials not directly related to teaching (though these may be placed on reserve under the library exemption)


  • Only students officially enrolled in the course can access the materials.
  • The materials are only available for the duration of the class session or course.
  • Technological protections have been implemented to prevent students from retaining and further distributing the copyrighted materials.
    • Audiovisual materials can be streamed as opposed to downloading
    • Textual materials could be converted to PDF with copy and paste and printing restructions.


  • The performance or display of the materials is integral to the course, is directly related to the taught content, is comparable to what would be used in a live classroom, and the posting is directed or supervised by the instructor.
  • You must post a notice that materials are subject to copyright restrictions. Recommended statement:
    • The materials on this course website are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.
  • You can digitize analog materials when no digital version is available, but limited to the amount needed for instructional purposes.

Contact us

  •     Gail McMillan
  • Gail M McMillan
  • Director , Scholarly Communication
  • 540-231-9252
  • 2036 Newman Library (0434)
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
  •     Anita Walz
  • Anita Walz
  • Open Education, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian
  • 540-231-2204
  • 422 Newman Library (0434)
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061