Skip to Main Content

Fair Dealing

You may ask, how can we use materials at Assiniboine if most are protected under copyright? Copyright law provides two options that allow use of protected materials!

  1. Obtaining a license for the material that allows for your planned type of use
  2. Your planned type of use falls under the Fair Dealing exception.

To qualify for the fair dealing exception we have to meet certain criteria that have been outlined in court decisions, which include purpose and fairness. Note that if the use of a work qualifies for fair dealing, the original source must be credited.



Is the copy being used for one of the following purposes, which are qualifiers for the fair dealing exemption? The resources you are planning to use must be for one of the purposes listed below in order to qualify for the fair dealing exception.

  • Research or private study
  • Criticism
  • Review
  • Education
  • News reporting
  • Parody or satire



If your use fits into one of the fair dealing purposes, you must then assess whether the dealing is fair. In making this judgment, you must look at the six factors below.

  • Purpose of the dealing 

Some purposes may be considered “fairer” than others. An example would be using material for non-profit versus commercial gain.

  • Character of the dealing

Single copies are fine, multiple copies tend to be more unfair.

  • Nature of the work 

Reasonable limits should be placed on the work by the Fair Dealing Policy.

  • Amount of the dealing

Both the amount of the dealing and importance of the work should be considered in assessing fairness. Try to avoid using gratuitous portions of the work, and use only what is absolutely necessary for study/research.

  • Effect of the dealing on the work 

Will your use of the material have any impact on the resource? If the reproduced work is likely to compete or impact the market of the original work, this may suggest that the dealing is unfair. 

  • Availability of alternative

Are there reasonable alternatives available for you to use? If there is a non-copyrighted equivalent of the work that could be used instead of the copyrighted one?


Fair Dealing Help!

Deciding whether or not you are able to use materials under the fair dealing exception can sometimes be complicated. To help you navigate the exception, use our fair dealing decision tool to help guide you. Or reach out to us for more guidance; we're always happy to talk about copyright!