Conducting a Fair Dealing Analysis

Making a Fair Dealing Analysis

In 2004 the Supreme Court of Canada established criteria to aid users of copyright protected material in determining if their uses were fair. A two-step test was established. The first step determines if your use qualifies under one of the purposes enumerated in the Copyright Act. If your use can be thought of as for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody or satire then you can proceed to second step. It's important to note that the Supreme Court has stated that research and private study are not to be viewed in a restrictive manner and should be thought of in a larger and more liberal context.

The second step requires the application of six factors to your intended use. The six factors, as enumerated by the Supreme Court, are as follows:

Purpose - Is your use separate from that of the user? A commercial use might be seen as less fair.
Character  - Is the plan to make a single copy? multiple copies? will the copy be destroyed when its use is completed?
Amount - Examine the amount of the work to be copied and the significance of the copied portion (will copies be made of a significant part of the work?)
Alternatives - Is a non-copyrighted equivalent available?
Nature - Is the work private, confidential? Unpublished? If unpublished, could be seen as more 'fair' since copyright has a goal of information dissemination.
Effect - Will your use compete with the market of the original work?

It's important to note here that none of the above six factors is more important than the others. It's the overall consideration of the factors that can help you decide if your dealing is fair or not.

If, after you've conducted a fair dealing assessment on your own and still are unsure, please contact the Dal Libraries' Copyright Office for further assistance.

Alternatively, the resources listed below can greatly aid you in your determination of Fair Dealing.

Fair Dealing Tools

Athabasca University Copyright Office

Have a fair dealing use that you're not sure about?  Athabasca University offers a handy, easy-to-use tool to aid you in your analysis. Receive advice in 6 easy steps, providing your responses through preconfigured drop-down menu options.

Queen's University Copyright Office

Queen's University offers an online tool to aid in evaluation of fair dealing situations and also offers the chance to learn more about fair dealing itself.  The tool can be found here.

Here is a similar tool from the University of Guelph, which can be found here.

(These tools are not a substitute for legal advice and are designed only to assist in a fair dealing assessment)
Questions or comments?

We'd be happy to help out. Please send us your copyright questions and comments.

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