Fair Dealing Week serves as an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our right to use short excerpts of copyrighted works for specific purposes including education and research. In celebration of Fair Dealing Week, we have developed a Fair Dealing Week guide that pulls together many resources about fair dealing.
The Copyright Act of Canada contains a number of exceptions to a copyright owner’s sole and exclusive right to reproduce a work. Fair dealing is one of these exceptions. A fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire, criticism or review, or news reporting does not infringe copyright.
Whether a given dealing is a "fair dealing" depends on the circumstances, including factors such as the purpose of the dealing; the amount, character and nature of the dealing; the availability of alternatives; and the impact the dealing might have on the original.
As delighted as we are with this right to use copyrighted works, it is imperative that we respect the limitations of our rights. For example, it would not be fair to copy an entire book, to post a copyrighted work on the free Internet without permission, or to sell copies for profit.
The copyright folks at the University of Waterloo strive to support the community with help with fair dealing assessments.
The Advisory defines a short excerpt as the amount that can be copied fairly, and it describes how short excerpts can be used in the classroom while observing reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works.
The Guidelines website includes a fair dealing flowchart that describes the two steps to take when judging if a use is covered by the fair dealing exception.
First, ask is the use for one of the purposes outlined in the Copyright Act? Most relevant for us – is it for an educational purpose? If it is for one of the allowable purposes, then the second step can be taken – namely, consider the circumstances of the dealing.
Fairness is a matter of degree. For example, a limited amount is more fair than the reproduction of a large portion of a work or the reproduction of a great numbers of copies.
You may well have questions that are not answered on the Copyright Guidelines website. For those questions, the site includes links to Waterloo’s copyright contacts – people you can call or email to get the help you need.
Let us know what you think!
Happy Fair Dealing!
For more information contact:
Liaison Librarian, Copyright and Academic Integrity
519-888-4567, ext. 35623
Tri-University Group Library Associate
519-888-4567, ext. 38736
Co-op student, Information Services and Resources, Dana Porter Library
519-888-4567, ext. 36916