Answered By: Matt Laidlow
Last Updated: Jun 10, 2024     Views: 2

How do I determine fair dealing for personal purposes?


To determine fairness for personal purposes, an individual can undertake an analysis to assess the fairness of their dealing. Assessing whether the use of a copyright-protected work qualifies as fair dealing involves an analysis of two broad, subjective, and intentionally ambiguous legal tests. The first legal test considers the purpose for using the work, and the second test will help an individual assess the "fairness" of their dealing. If either test fails, they will need to contact the copyright owner for permission prior to using the material. 

Test 1: The dealing must be for a purpose stated in the Act: research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review, or news reporting. 

Test 2: The dealing must be fair. This can be determined through the six factors provided by the Supreme Court (excerpted from CCH v. LAW SOCIETY OF UPPER CANADA [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339). 

  1. the purpose of the proposed copying, including whether it is for research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting; 
  2. the character of the proposed copying, including whether it involves single or multiple copies, and whether the copy is destroyed after it is used for its specific intended purpose; 
  3. the amount of the dealing from the individual user’s perspective, including the proportion of the work that is copied and the importance of that excerpt in relation to the whole work; this is often referred to as a “short excerpt” and must contain no more of the work than is required in order to achieve the fair dealing purpose; 
  4. alternatives to copying the work, including whether there is a non-copyright protected equivalent available; 
  5. the nature of the work, including whether it is published or unpublished; and 
  6. the effect of the copying on the work, including whether the copy will compete with the commercial market of the original work. 

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