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Copyright: Copyright & Fair Dealing

This guide provides information to Capilano University employees and students regarding copyright, license agreements, and related topics. This guide does not provide legal advice.

Copyright Introduction

Copyright, in its simplest form, is the right to copy. It is a set of exclusive rights granted by law to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute, and adapt the work. These rights give copyright holders control over the use of their work.

Copyright covers literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works, sound recordings, performances, and communication signals. This includes works on the Internet.

In Canada, we follow Canadian legislation, even though we may be using materials produced outside of Canada. Copyright owners enforce their rights in the countries where the alleged violation of copyright takes place.

Major changes to the Canadian Copyright Act were introduced in Parliament on September 29, 2011, in the Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11). The legislation received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012 and the majority of the bill came in to force on Nov. 7, 2012.

Copyright laws try to balance the rights of creators to be paid for, and to control the use of, their works, with the needs of users who want access to material protected by copyright. This balance is created by providing  rights for creators and exceptions to benefit certain users (e.g., educational institutions, libraries, museums, and archives).

Canadian copyright law also includes exceptions for fair dealing. Copyright material may be copied and distributed by instructors under these exceptions as long as the use meets Capilano University Fair Dealing (Copyright) Policy.

Fair Dealing

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.

Capilano University's Fair Dealing (Copyright) Policy states that 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.

There are six points of fair dealing to consider, the first point MUST be met prior to considering the subsequent points:

  • Purpose: Is the purpose allowed under the Copyright Act’s fair dealing exception? Is it for research, private study, education, parody or satire, criticism or review, or news reporting?
  • Character: Is the character of the dealing a single copy or multiple copies?
  • Amount: How much of the copyright work is being used?
  • Alternatives: Is there a reasonable alternative to making a copy?
  • Nature: Is the work published, unpublished, confidential, etc.?
  • Effect: What is the economic effect of copying the work? Will the copy of the work compete with the original work?

Fair Dealing Guidelines

The following guidelines are contained in the Capilano University's Fair Dealing (Copyright) Policy as established by legal counsel from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). Copyrighted material can be reproduced provided they meet the guidelines:

1. Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members in non-profit educational institutions 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 and 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 should mention the source and, if given in the source, the name of the author or creator of the work.


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

  • as a class handout
  • as a posting to a learning or course management system that is password protected or otherwise restricted to students of a school or post-secondary educational institution
  • as part of a course pack

4. A short excerpt means:

  • up to 10% of a copyright-protected work (including a literary work, musical score, sound recording, and an audiovisual work)
  • one chapter from a book
  • a single article from a periodical
  • an entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright-protected work containing other artistic works
  • an entire newspaper article or page
  • 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

5. Copying or communicating that exceeds the limits in this Fair Dealing Policy may be referred to a supervisor or other person designated by the educational institution for evaluation.

6. 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 educational institution for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must be intended to cover only the costs of the institution, including overhead costs.