Dalhousie Fair Dealing Guidelines

Copyright Act Compliance: Fair Dealing Guidelines

(Approved by Dr. Tom Traves, President, January 2013)

Download a copy of these Guidelines [Pdf - 75.6 kB]


All members of the Dalhousie University community – faculty, staff and students – have an obligation to comply with the requirements of the Copyright Act.

Under the Copyright Act, express permission of the copyright owner is required before making copies or distributing works, with some exceptions. These guidelines outline the framework for operating under one of these exceptions – “fair dealing” for the purposes of research, private study, review, criticism or news reporting, education, parody and satire. These guidelines outline the limits and requirements for making paper and electronic copies of a portion of a published work by individuals for their own use, by faculty for use in their courses of study and by libraries for the use of their patrons.

There are other exceptions for other circumstances relevant to the teaching and learning environment of the University such as the use of works for examinations or assignments, and the performance of works in a variety of educational settings. These guidelines do not cover such situations.

It is also important to note that these guidelines do not in any way limit the ability of individuals to use links to published works on a legally authorized website on their own websites or course management systems, or to make or distribute hard or electronic copies of published works in accordance with licenses granted to the University by publishers.

These guidelines are based upon the Fair Dealing Policy developed in cooperation with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.


These guidelines apply to all members of the Dalhousie University community – faculty, staff and students.


Members of the University community who fail to comply with these guidelines may be denied access, in whole or in part, to resources that support the copying and distribution of published works, and in addition, may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action by reason of non-compliance with University policy.


1. Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in non-profit universities may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody.

2. Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under this Fair Dealing Policy for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review must mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.

3. A copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class of course:

(a) as a class handout

(b) as a posting to a learning or course management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of the university

(c) as part of a course pack

4. A short excerpt means:

(a) up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)

(b) one chapter from a book

(c) a single article from a periodical

(d) an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works

(e) an entire newspaper article or page

(f) an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores

(g) an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work provided that in each case, no more of the work is copied than is required in order to achieve the allowable purpose.

 5. Copying or communicating multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work, with the intention of copying or communicating substantially the entire work, is prohibited.

6. Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in this Fair Dealing Policy may be referred to the Copyright Office for evaluation. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances.

7. Any fee charged by Dalhousie for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must be intended to cover only the costs of the University, including overhead costs.

Questions or comments?

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

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