Fair Dealing

The Copyright Act contains a select number of exceptions, prescribed uses of copyright-protected works that would not constitute copyright as long as the conditions and requirements are adhered to. The Fair Dealing exception is described below.

Copyright Act: Fair Dealing Case Law
The use of a work for the following purposes does not constitute copyright infringement:

Private Study
News Reporting

As per Section 29 of the Copyright Act

Consider the following six factors when determining whether the dealing with a work is fair:

  1. Purpose of the dealing
  2. Character of the dealing
  3. Amount of the dealing
  4. Availability of alternatives
  5. Nature of the work
  6. Effect of the dealing on the work

As per CCH Canadian Ltd. V. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2004 SCC 13; [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339

Interpreting the Six Factors to Determine whether the Dealing with a Work is Fair

1. The Purpose of the dealing: are you using the work for one of the purposes outlined in Section 29 of the Copyright Act?

2. The Character of the dealing: how many of the economic rights are you potentially exercising on behalf of the content creator?

3. The Amount of the dealing: is the amount you’re using substantial and does it jeopardize the integrity of the work?

4. Availability of Alternatives: is there a work available that isn’t protected by copyright that could act as a substitute?

5. The Nature of the work: what is the work intended to do and how was it originally made available?

6. The Effect of the dealing on the work: could your use have a negative impact on the market value of the work?

Fair Dealing Guidelines Summary

The complete Fair Dealing Guidelines can be found in Addendum Standard 1 of Policy A204: Copyright.

Fair Dealing Guidelines
Short Excerpts…

  • Up to 10% of a work
  • 1 entire chapter
  • 1 entire article
  • 1 entire short story/play/poem/essay
  • 1 entire reproduction of an artistic work
  • 1 single musical score

… may be photocopied and distributed to students in the classroom and may be scanned and uploaded to FanshaweOnline.

The condition: Acknowledge the source of the content.

*Systemic and cumulative copying is infringement*

Regarding the Application of the Fair Dealing Guidelines:

Reproducing up to 10% of a book’s total page count is likely to be considered fair but if you’ve reproduced an entire chapter from a book and that chapter constitutes 7% of the book’s total page count, it would not be fair to reproduce an additional 3% in order to reach 10% as that chapter would be considered a complete portion of the work and any additional portions would require permission from the copyright owner.

Periodicals like newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals are published daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally. The use of multiple articles from the same periodical title is likely to be considered fair if each article comes from a different issue or volume of that periodical.

The Fair Dealing Guidelines endure for the duration of the course you’re teaching or the project you’re working on. Reproducing 10% of a work one week and an additional 10% from the same work the next week would be considered systematic and cumulative copying which would constitute copyright infringement.

If your needs exceed what the Fair Dealing Guidelines suggest, contact the Copyright Services Officer for assistance with the permission seeking process or alternatives.