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Communication Studies

Critical Advertising Studies



CMNS 295: Copyright

Always assume a work is protected by copyright unless it clearly states otherwise. 

There are particular user's rights in the Copyright Act that allow you to use copyright protected works under particular circumstances. 

1. Fair Dealing

A user's rights in the Copyright Act that allows reuse of copyright protected works, as long as the 'dealing' is 'fair'. There are eight allowable purposes under fair dealing: 

  • research
  • private study
  • education
  • parody
  • satire
  • criticism 
  • review
  • news reporting

Use the Six Factor Test to determine if your 'dealing' is 'fair'. 

Factor Questions
1. Purpose Is your use for one of the eight allowed purposes under fair dealing?
2. Character Are you creating a single copy of the work of multiple copies? 
3. Amount How much of the original work are you copying? 
4. Alternatives Is there a reasonable alternative to making a copy?
5. Natures Is the original work published, unpublished, or confidential? 
6. Effect What is the economic effect of copying the work? Will the copy of the work compete with the original work?

Note: a dealing does not have to satisfy all six factors to be considered fair. 

2. Non-commercial user generated content (mash-ups)

A person may use an existing work which has been published or otherwise made available to the public in the creation of a new work, provided:

  • The source of the existing work is given where reasonable
  • The existing work was legally acquired
  • The new work is for non-commercial purposes
  • The new work does not have a substantial adverse effect (financial or otherwise) on a current or potential market for the existing work

Copyright Act, Section 29.21

Alternatives to Copyright and Creative Commons 

Works published under open licenses have less copyright restrictions than traditional, all-rights-reserved copyright. Creative Commons are an example of an internationally recognized open license. 

Many websites now create their own licenses. Always check the terms-of-use of a website to see allowed uses of content. 

The image below outlines allowed uses of Creative Commons licenses. For more information, visit:

For more information about individual Creative Commons licenses, visit


CC-BY-SA License'Creative Commons Licenses' by Darcye Lovsin has been adapted from Foter 'How to Attribute Creative Commons Photos' and is published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International License.

Note: Save the image to view it in larger format.