Fair Dealing Guidelines

The fair dealing exception is a provision in the Copyright Act that permits a user to copy a short excerpt from a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright owner. In order to copy within the fair dealing exception two main criteria must be met:

  1. The dealing must be for an allowable purpose, including one of research, education, private study, parody, satire, criticism or news reporting.
  2. The dealing itself must be "fair." To evaluate if a dealing is fair you must consider all of the following factors: the purpose of the dealing, the character of the dealing, the amount of the dealing, the nature of the work, available alternatives to copying the work, and the effect of the dealing on the work.

The guidelines below are intended to provide Trent instructors, students and staff with a tool to evaluate whether the copying you wish to do is permitted using the fair dealing exception. Every situation differs and copying may be considered more or less fair in various circumstances. If you are unsure, if you should copy using the guidelines below, please contact the copyright office for assistance.

Fair Dealing Guidelines

The fair dealing exception allows a user to copy, in paper or electronic form, "Short Excerpts" (defined below) from a work for any of the following purposes:

  • Research
  • Private Study
  • Education
  • Criticism and Review
  • News Reporting
  • Satire
  • Parody

In addition to meeting the requirements to copy a work for any of the allowable purposes (listed above), the dealing must also be considered "fair". The Act does not provide examples, but guidelines have been established by the Supreme Court of Canada as a result of several landmark cases.
In order for copying to be considered, "fair" a consideration of all of the relevant factors is required.

The six factors to be considered include:

  1. the purpose of proposed copying, including whether it is for research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review, or news reporting;
  2. the character of the proposed copying, including whether it involves single or multiple copies, and whether the copy is destroyed after it is used for its specific intended purpose;
  3. the amount of the dealing from the individual user's perspective, including the proportion of the work that is proposed to be copied and the importance of that excerpt in relation to the whole work;
  4. alternatives to copying the work, including whether there is a non-copyrighted equivalent available;
  5. the nature of the work, including whether it is published or unpublished; and
  6. the effect of the copying on the Work, including whether the copy will compete with the commercial market of the original work.

Short Excerpts Explained

Instructors, students and staff may copy, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyrighted work, which includes literary works, musical scores, sound recordings, and audiovisual works, for the purpose of either research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, or parody.

  1. The copy must be a "Short Excerpt", which means that it is either:
    • 10% or less of a work, or
    • no more than:
      • one chapter of a book (and the chapter cannot exceed 10% of the book);
      • a single article from a periodical;
      • an entire artistic work, including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, or plan from a work containing other artistic works;
      • an entire newspaper article or page;
      • an entire single poem or musical score from a work containing other poems or musical scores; or
      • an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work.
  2. The short excerpt must contain no more of the work than is required in order to achieve the fair dealing purpose.
  3. A single copy of a short excerpt from a copyrighted work may be provided or communicated to each student registered in a course:
    • (i) as a class handout; or
    • (ii) as a posting in Blackboard.
  4. Any fee charged by Trent for copying a short excerpt must not exceed the costs of making the copy.
  5. Copies of short excerpts made for the purpose of news reporting, criticism, or review must mention the source and, if given the source, the name of the author(s) and creator(s) or the work.
  6. You may not make copies of multiple short excerpts from the same work when the combined amount exceeds what can be considered a Short Excerpt (listed above).