Fair Dealing & Copyright

Fair Dealing Flow Chart

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”.

Step 1: Check whether your Purpose is a Permitted Purpose:

  • Research
  • Private study
  • Criticism
  • Review
  • News reporting
  • Education
  • Satire
  • Parody

YES – Continue on to Step 2.

NO – Check whether use is covered under:

  1. Any other Copyright Act exception
  2. Library licences for electronic journals and databases (Note: some licences may prohibit some uses even if the purpose is one of the above.)
  3. Cinematograph film licences
  4. Any other agreement

Step 2: Check whether your Use is “Fair”

Nature of the DealingLess FairMore Fair
PurposeCommercialCharitable/Educational
Character of the DealingMultiple Copies; Widely Distributed/ RepetitiveSingle copy;
Limited Distribution/ One-off
Importance/ Amount of Work CopiedEntire Work/ Significant ExcerptLimited/ Trivial Amount
Effect of Dealing on the Original WorkCompeting with Original WorkNo Detriment to Original
Nature of the WorkConfidentialUnpublished/ In Public Interest
Available AlternativesNon-copyright Works
Available; Not Necessary for Purpose
No Alternative
Works; Necessary to Achieve Purpose

Fair Dealing Flowchart licensed from the University of Waterloo Copyright Advisory Committee under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0