Fair Dealing

What is Fair Dealing?

Fair dealing is a section in the copyright act which permits the use of a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright owner. Fair Dealing allows you to copy a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work. Short excerpts mean you can copy up to 10 percent of a copyrighted work such as:

  • One chapter of a book
  • A single article from a periodical
  • An entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
  • An entire newspaper article or page
  • An entire poem or single musical score from a copyright-protected work
  • Entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, or similar reference work

You can use these materials for the following purposes: research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review or news reporting.

It is NOT fair to copy multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work.

The 6 Fair Dealing Factors

You must consider the following Fair Dealing Factors before you copy or distribute a work:

  1. The purpose of the copying
    • Is the copying for one of the following purposes: education, research, private study, criticism or review, news reporting, parody or satire?
    • The copy is not meant to replace your course text
  2. The amount of the copying
    • How much is being copied? One chapter from a book or one article from a journal may be considered fair.
  3. The character of the copying
    • How broadly will the work be distributed? Will it be accessible only to eligible students?
  4. Alternatives to copying the work
    • Is the same or equivalent work available in the library databases? Is there a non-copyrighted alternative?
  5. The nature of the work
    • including whether it is published or unpublished
  6. The effect of the copying on the work
    • Will the copying undermine the market for the work?

Terms of Use

This guide has been adapted from the CLO Learning Portal Copyright page (archived) and the Faculty Toolkit.

This site was designed solely for informational purposes for St. Lawrence College faculty, staff and students. All other users are encouraged to check and confirm the information with their institution(s). This site is prepared by library staff and is not reviewed by legal counsel.