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What is Fair Dealing?

Section 29 of the Copyright Act defines Fair Dealing in education. The Act states that Fair Dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody or satire does not infringe copyright. Understanding Fair Dealing can be confusing, the following section includes guidelines to assist faculty and staff in their day-to-day use of copyrighted materials.

Policy Rules and Guidelines

Most materials are copyright-protected. Fair Dealing in the Copyright Act genereally makes provisions for short-excerpted copies of a work without permission provided it is for educational purposes. However, consideration must be made for the following

  • How are copies are shared?
  • Are digital copies solely available on a secured platform (i.e. eLearn) to prevent further copying and/or distribution?
  • Does the portion of the copied work amount to less than 10% or a single chapter of the entire work?
  • Does the part of the work that is copied represent the substance of the entire work?
  • Are there realistic alternatives for students to access the work?
  • Will the creation of copies compete with sales of the original work?
  • Is there an existing license agreement that prohibits the copying of materials outside of the Copyright Act?

Lead by example, you should always cite author, title, date and publishing information for any source you use.

Your right to copy can be subject to certain conditions and limitations and it is always best to ask permission for the materials you intend to use. 

In general, a short excerpt is: 

  • Up to 10% of copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording and an audiovisual work)
  • One chapter of a book
  • A single article from a periodical, newspaper or magazine
  • A single poem, musical score or artistic work from a copyright-protected work 
  • An entire entry from an encyclopaedia, annotated biography, dictionary or other reference book

*Note: copying multiple short excerpts from the same work is NOT allowed

Unless otherwise outlined in a vendor license agreement, the rules for using copyright-protected works are as follows:

  • Note the author or creator
  • Title
  • Date created or published
  • Date accessed (online materials)
  • Relevant publishing materials (URL for online content)

Authors, Adapters and Adopers of OERs