Ryerson University Fair Dealing Guideline

The Copyright Act includes “fair dealing” provisions that permit 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 or parody. Educational use of a copyright protected work passes the first test.

The second test is that the dealing must be “fair.” This Fair Dealing Guideline sets out what dealing is considered “fair” and provides reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the law.


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 Guideline 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 Guideline may be referred to the Copyright Librarian at Ryerson University copyrt@ryerson.ca. 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 be intended to cover only the costs of the university, including overhead costs.

Updated: April 3rd, 2013