Fair Dealing FAQs

Q: What is fair dealing? 
A: Fair dealing is an exception in the Copyright Act that allows for the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire, without permission from the copyright owner, provided that the use of the work is ‘fair’. Whether something is 'fair' will depend on the circumstances, including the amount used, the character and purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the effect of the use on the work and whether there were any appropriate alternatives.
 
Q: What am I allowed to copy?
A: You are allowed to copy single copies from published works for research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire.  As a general guideline, copies may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class as:
  • a print handout
  • a posting to a secure website, such as Moodle/Blackboard - password protected.
  • part of a course pack.
 
Q: How much am I allowed to copy?
A: As a general guideline, copying a portion of up to 10% of a published work is likely within Fair Dealing.  More than 10% may also be fine under certain circumstances such as copying an entire article from a journal, an entire short story, a play, or poem, an essay or a single musical score that was part of a collection or anthology, or periodical publication.  The closer you get to copying 20% of the material or more, the more likely you will need to get permission from the copyright holder.
 
Q: What am I NOT allowed to copy?
A: You are not permitted to copy plays that are published as an entire work, unpublished works, proprietary workbooks, assignment sheets, tests and examination papers, instruction manuals, or newsletters that can only be obtained via paid membership, or business cases.  In addition, copying multiple different excerpts from the same work, thereby essentially reproducing most or all of the work, is not considered fair dealing.
 
Q: If I do copy something under fair dealing, how should I cite this work?
A: You are required to acknowledge the name of the author or the artist, the name of the publisher and a statement that notes that this copy is made solely for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire.

Q: Will I have to pay a fee for copying?
A: No, there is no fee for copying an item under fair dealing except, of course, for the actual cost involved in photocopying and printing.
 
Q: As a student, am I allowed to copy articles my instructor has placed on Reserve?
A: Yes, if the articles are for research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire.
 
Q: How does the fair dealing policy relate to Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loans?
A: The Fair Dealing policy applies when a loan is made between a Canadian university library and another Canadian university library. The patron must be a student, staff or faculty member. The work must be used for research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire.
 
Q: Am I permitted to copy works as many times as I want?
A: No, you may only make one copy, and that can only be for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire.
 
Q: As a student, if I receive an electronic copy of an article am I permitted to give it to a third party?
A: No, as a student you are only permitted to print off a paper copy and you are not permitted to transmit the electronic copy to another individual.