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Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week

February 25, 2020

Students like most Canadians interact with copyright on a daily basis. From using multimedia in projects, such as sound and video, when excerpts of information are taken from books and articles for research and to complete essays, and when viewing content on overhead projectors in class, students are often interacting with and using copyright materials. Uses like these are made possible in large part by the Fair Dealing provision of the Copyright Act of Canada. Fair dealing acts like a copyright “safety valve” allowing for certain socially beneficially uses of copyright material that you might otherwise get in trouble for. Can you think of ways that you use copyright material that you might need a “safety valve” for?

If you need some ideas on why Fair Dealing matters, and how we all use copyright materials as students and educators, check out this helpful video by our friends at the University of Winnipeg on Fair Dealing

What is Fair Dealing?

Fair Dealing is a provision in the Copyright Act that permits use of a copyright-protected work without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties in limited circumstances. Fair dealing has been a part of Canada’s Copyright Act since 1921. To use copyright content under fair dealing the “dealing” must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act: research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire or parody, and the dealing must be fair. “Fairness” is determined by weighing certain considerations in regard to a proposed Use of a Copyright-protected material. Fair dealing exists as a user right within the Copyright Act for the public good to foster education, creativity, and innovation.

Confused about how to use copyright materials under Fair Dealing? Did you know Red River College has a copyright policy for staff, students and faculty that provides guidelines on how to use materials under Fair Dealing? Find it here:

Many people think Copyright Law exists to protect content creators like authors and musicians, however the Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear that users’ and creators’ rights are equally important components of copyright. The copyright act exists to balance the rights of creators and users of content. Fair Dealing is a component of the Copyright act that helps create this balance between users and creators, but many misunderstandings of the Fair Dealing exist. One myth is that Fair Dealing allows educators the right to freely copy any amount of a work, but educational uses are still subject to a fair dealing analysis, of which the amount copied is just one of the factors to be considered. Often educational use is outlined in policies that instruct both students and educators on guidelines for use of copyright material such as the policy and guidelines we have here at Red River College. If you want more information on some common Fair Dealing myths you can find a helpful info graphic here which will provide you with the facts to counter the myths:

Fair Dealing Week

Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2020 takes place from Monday, February 24, through Friday, February 28. It celebrates the important doctrines of fair use in the United States and fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions.

Fair Dealing Week is a time to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by Fair Dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain this provision of the Copyright Act (

Want to see some of the buzz going on during Fair Dealing week? Check the hashtags #fairdealingweek and #fairdealingmatters on social media for conversation and events. Still have questions about copyright or Fair Dealing? Get in touch with the Red River College Copyright Officer for assistance and discussion.

Red River College Copyright Officer

Ebony Novakowski
Red River College Copyright Officer
Notre Dame Campus CM43 (Library)