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Michael Byun, Manager, Bookstores

Tim Paul, Manager, Academic Technology Services.
Responsible for Audio/Visual Recording and online content used for instructional purposes.

Katharine Shipley, Associate Director of Learning Resources.
Responsible for copyright in relation to use of Library print and digital collections.

Debra Flewelling, Open Education Librarian.

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing is a user's right outline in S. 29 of the Copyright Act. It allows the use of short excerpts from copyright protected works, without payment or permission from the copyright owner, for eight specific purposes:

  • Education
  • Research
  • Private Study
  • Criticism
  • Review
  • Parody
  • Satire
  • News reporting


Supreme Court of Canada's (SCC) Six Factor Test

The Supreme Court of Canada outlined six factors to help determine if a use of a copyrighted work is fair. 

Please note: a use does not have to satisfy all factors to be considered fair. 






Is the use for a purpose permitted under fair dealing?

More Fair: Using a work for one of the eight purposes above.

Less Fair: Using a work for commercial purposes.





How is the work being used? Is it being widely distributed?

More Fair: A single copy of a work, distributed to a limited group of people.

Less Fair: Multiple copies of a work, distributed widely





How much of the work is being copied?

More Fair: Copying a trivial amount of a work

Less Fair: Copying a substantial amount of a work. 




Nature of the Work

Was the work previously published?

More Fair: Copying a previously published work. 

Less Fair: Copying a confidential work or an unpublished work. However, a court of law may also consider whether the copy serves a public interest. 




Available Alternatives

Is there a suitable alternative not protected by copyright?

More Fair: Copying a work with no commercially available alternative.

Less Fair: Copying a work that has an alternative available, for example a library license.





Is the copy likely to compete with the market of the original?

If yes, it is considered Less Fair.


What is a 'Short Excerpt'?

The Copyright Act does not define 'short excerpt'. Use the College Use of Copyrighted Works Policy (A01) and the Supreme Court of Canada's Six Factor Test to determine if the use of a resource falls under fair dealing.

College Use of Copyrighted Works Policy (A01)

The College Use of Copyrighted Works Policy (A01) outlines the responsibilities of Douglas College and members of the College Community with respect to the Copyright Act. Under A01, a short excerpt is:

  • Up to 10% of a copyright-protected work
  • One chapter from a book
  • A single article from a periodical
  • An entire newspaper article or page
  • An entire artistic work from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
  • An entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores
  • An entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work

Copies should mention the source and, if given, the name of the author or creator of the work. 

How to Share Short Excerpts

A single copy of a short excerpt may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course in the form of a:

  • Handout
  • Blackboard post
  • Coursepack

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.

Digital Licensed Materials

NoteThe library subscribes to digital resources (journals, e-books), which are governed by license agreements. Licenses take precedent over legislative allowances, including fair dealing. 

For more information on licenses, please visit the Licensed materials page.


The information in this resource should not be considered legal advice. The purpose of this guide is to provide Douglas College faculty and students with general information about copyright.