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Fair Dealing

Fair dealing refers to the reproduction of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright owner or payment of royalty fees. Fair dealing is part of Canada's Copyright Act and is considered a "user's right". The Copyright Act does not provide guidance on what amount may be copied under fair dealing or how widely the material may be distributed.

Fair Dealing at Saskatchewan Polytechnic

The Saskatchewan Polytechnic Copying and Fair Dealing guidelines are located in the Program Operating Procedures (POP) manual on mySaskPolyTech.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic relies on the Canadian copyright act and the CCH v. LSUC 2004 and the Alberta (Education) v. CCLA (Access Copyright) 2012 Supreme Court decisions to provide the framework for assessing whether a dealing (such as reproducing a work or an excerpt of a work) is fair. The decision provides a two step test:

Step 1: Is the dealing for an allowable purpose under the Act? Canada's current copyright act (C-11) allows fair dealing for the purposes of education, research, private study, criticism, review, parody, satire, or news reporting.

Step 2: If the dealing is for an allowable purpose, the following six factors are assessed to determine whether the dealing is fair:

  1. the predominant purpose of the dealing;
  2. the character of the dealing;
  3. the amount of the dealing;
  4. alternatives to the dealing;
  5. the nature of the work; and
  6. the effect of the dealing on the work.

Insubstantial amounts of a work, such as a quote, may be reproduced without permission as long as the source is acknowledged. The Copyright Act does not contain a definition of what constitutes an "insubstantial" amount. As the amount of the work copied increases, the use of the work without permission should be analyzed under fair dealing, using the six factors provided above.

What does fair dealing mean to you with respect to curriculum resources and materials? Other than defining the allowable purposes for fair dealing, explicit rules do not exist that describe what is or is not a fair dealing. However, decisions released by the Supreme Court in July 2012 provide additional direction on how to assess fair dealing. Saskatchewan Polytechnic updated its copying and fair dealing guidelines in November 2012, to reflect the broader interpretation of fair dealing contained in these decisions.

Check with the Copyright Office or visit mySaskPolytech to learn more about how to apply fair dealing in your specific context.

Canada's Copyright Act and Fair Dealing

Most sections of Canada's new Copyright Act (c. C-11), the "Copyright Modernization Act") came into force on November 7th, 2012. The Act adds additional purposes for fair dealing with works in sections 29:

  • 29. Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody, or satire does not infringe copyright.
  • 29.1 Fair dealing for the purpose of criticism or review does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned: (a) the source; and (b) if given in the source, the name of the (i) author, in the case of a work, (ii) performer, in the case of a performer’s performance, (iii) maker, in the case of a sound recording, or (iv) broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.
  • 29.2 Fair dealing for the purpose of news reporting does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned: (a) the source; and (b) if given in the source, the name of the (i) author, in the case of a work, (ii) performer, in the case of a performer’s performance, (iii) maker, in the case of a sound recording, or (iv) broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.

Additional new fair dealing exceptions include:

  • 29.21: Non-commercial user-generated content
  • 29.22: Reproduction for private purposes
  • 29.23: Reproduction for later listening or viewing
  • 29.24: Backup copies
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