It can often be tricky to determine whether something you want to do falls within fair dealing. This quick guide sets out the steps you should take and the factors you should consider. Ultimately, it will depend on your particular circumstances and you have to make a judgment call as to whether your use can be classified as “fair”. If you have any doubt, you should ask for permission. If the work is a library-licenced electronic resource, the permissibility of your use is determined by the terms of the licence.
Step 1: Check whether your purpose is a permitted purpose
Are you using the work for the purpose of:
- Private study
- News reporting
Yes - Continue to step 2
No - Check whether use is covered under:
- Any other Copyright Act exception
- Library licences for electronic journals and databases (Note: some licences may prohibit some uses even if the purpose is one of the above.)
- Cinematograph film licences
- Any other agreement
Step 2: Check whether your use is “fair”
Is the nature of the dealing fair?
|Nature of the Dealing||
|Character of the dealing||
|Importance/amount of work copied||
Entire Work/Significant excerpt
|Effect of dealing on the original work||
|Nature of the work||
Unpublished/in public Interest
Not necessary for
Necessary to achieve
Fair dealing flowchart by the University of Waterloo Copyright Advisory Committee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.