Fair Copying Guidelines

Fair Dealing Quick Guide


Copying (using photocopying or digital technology, such as scanners) of any works can be carried out under any one of the following circumstances:

  1. the work is in the public domain;
  2. copying is explicitly allowed by the rights holder through a Creative Commons or Open Access license or similar statement;
  3. the work is appropriately licensed by the Library (e.g. all of the databases at https://library.upei.ca/databases);
  4. the person making the copies has secured the permission of the rights holder, usually the author and/or the publisher;
  5. the copying falls under the educational exceptions or fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act.

Most of the copying for academic purposes at UPEI will fall into #3 and #5 above. If you have questions you can contact Simon Lloyd, Donald Moses or your liaison librarian. Additional guidance on #5 (fair dealing), is provided below; users are also referred to the Guidelines for the use of copyrighted material from CAUT (updated February 2013), the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

We also provide additional details on specific Library and UPEI services that impact learning and research.

Fair Dealing = Fair Play

The UPEI Library spends over a million dollars annually on purchases and subscriptions for a vast range of print and electronic publications. Having lawfully acquired this material on behalf of our users, we expect to be able to take every reasonable measure to share it with them, through lending and the services outlined above. But what is “reasonable”? It is here that fair dealing comes into play.

What is “Fair”?

In its landmark 2004 ruling in CCH Canadian Ltd. v. the Law Society of Upper Canada (sometimes referred to as the “CCH Decision”), the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed fair dealing as a user right under the Copyright Act, and laid out the following six-point test of “fairness”:

(a) the purpose of the proposed copying,including whether it is for education, research, private
study, review, parody, satire, criticism or news reporting;
(b) 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;
(c) the amount or proportion of the work which is proposed to be copied and the
importance of that work;
(d) alternatives to copying the work, including whether there is a non-copyrighted
equivalent available;
(e) the nature of the work, including whether it is published or unpublished; and
(f) the effect of the copying on the work, including whether the copy will compete
with the commercial market of the original work.

The Supreme Court's support for fair dealing as a user right was strongly reaffirmed in its "pentalogy" of rulings on five copyright-related cases, issued in July, 2012.


Created by: Simon Lloyd, B.A., M.L.I.S.
University Archives and Special Collections Librarian
Phone: 902-566-0536
Date Created: 10-March-2011