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Copyright & Fair Dealing

MSVU Fair Dealing Policy

Approved by the President and Vice-Chancellor, January 2013. Based on the Fair Dealing Policy for Universities developed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada dated October 9, 2012.

MSVU Fair Dealing Policy

The fair dealing provision in the Copyright Act permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties. To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed.

First, the "dealing" must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire and parody. Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes the first test.

The second test is that the dealing must be "fair." In landmark decisions in 2004 and in 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada provided guidance as to what this test means in schools and post-secondary educational institutions.

This Fair Dealing Policy applies fair dealing in non-profit K-12 schools and post-secondary educational institutions and provides reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and the Supreme Court decisions.


1. Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in non-profit universities may communicate and reproduce, in paper or electronic form, short excerpts from a copyright-protected work for the purposes of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody.

2. Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under this Fair Dealing Policy for the purpose of news reporting, criticism or review must mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.

3. A copy of a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work may be provided or communicated to each student enrolled in a class or course:

(a) as a class handout
(b) as a posting to a learning or course management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of the university
(c) as part of a course pack.

4. A short excerpt means:

(a) up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)
(b) one chapter from a book
(c) a single article from a periodical
(d) an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
(e) an entire newspaper article or page
(f) an entire single poem or musical score from a copyright-protected work containing other poems or musical scores
(g) an entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work,
provided that, in each case, no more of the work is copied than is required in order to achieve the allowable purpose.

5. 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.

6. Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in this Fair Dealing Policy may be referred to the University Librarian, at for evaluation. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing will be made based on all relevant circumstances.

7. Any fee charged by the University for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must cover only the costs to the University, including overhead costs.

Fair Dealing Criteria

Fair Dealing is a right, within limits, to reproduce portions of copyrighted material without having to seek permission or pay the copyright owner. The Supreme Court in its judgments on copyright has upheld that fair dealing constitutes a user right balanced with the rights of the copyright holder. When determining if a copy is fair dealing, apply the six principal criteria for evaluating the dealing and consult the Mount Fair Dealing Policy.

  1. the purpose of the proposed copying, including whether it is for education, research, private study, review, criticism, news reporting, parody or satire;
  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 or proportion of the work which is proposed to be copied and the importance of that work;
  4. alternatives to copying the work, including whether there is a non-copyrighted 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.

Copyright Act of Canada

Best Practices in Fair Dealing for Open Educational Resources