Photocopying Guidelines

Dalhousie has adopted guidelines for the copying and reproduction of materials for the institution.  The guidelines also set out clear amounts as to what can and cannot be copied under fair dealing.  The guidelines generally apply to all faculty and staff of the institution but not to students.  You can find more information about the guidelines here.

Copyright applies to all original works. "Copyright" literally means the right to copy, but is commonly interpreted to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Under the Copyright Act of Canada, the owner of copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce all or a substantial part of a work. Individuals are prohibited from making copies of all or substantial parts of copyright protected works without the consent of the copyright owner. If, however, the amount copied is an insubstantial amount, copyright is not triggered and infringement is not an issue. 

Unfortunately, neither substantial nor insubstantial are defined in the Act.  If what you think could be considered a substantial portion has been used, consider making use of the exception in the Act known as fair dealing.  Copying done within the limits of fair dealing is not an infringement of copyright. Under fair dealing a use can be determined to be non-infringing or not under a two step evaluation.  In the first step, the use must occur under any of the following categories: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, parody and satire. 

Once the category of the use has been clearly established, the second step in the process is to apply a series of 6 criteria that were established by the Supreme Court of Canada. The criteria are:

  • Purpose of the dealing - a deeper examination of your intended use is in order
  • Character of the dealing - multiples copies being widely distributed could be seen as less fair, whereas a single copy used for a specific legitimate purpose could point to a conclusion of a fair dealing
  • Amount of the dealing - it may be possible to deal fairly with a whole work.  You need to be able to show that you needed to use the amount you used.
  • Alternatives to the dealing - Was it absolutely necessary you needed to use the work you did?  Was there a non-copyrighted equivalent to the work?
  • Nature of the work - A confidential work used may lend itself to an unfair dealing.  Use of an unpublished or out of print work could lead to discovery and wider public dissemination or serve the public interest in some other way.
  • Effect of the work on the original - will your use of the work compete with the original in the market?This is neither the only or most important factor.

It is important to note that no one of these factors is more important than any other and not all the criteria will necessarily apply.

Fair Dealing Analysis Tools

There are also a number of online tools to aid in any fair dealing evaluation you may undertake.  You can find two such tools here.

Questions or comments?

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

Dalhousie Libraries Copyright Office website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.