Fair Dealing for Copyright-Protected Work Policy


To outline the rights of faculty and staff to use copyright-protected work for educational purposes and to provide reasonable safeguards for the owners of copyright-protected works in accordance with the Copyright Act and Supreme Court decisions.


This policy applies to all Seneca employees and students.

Key Definitions


The sole right to produce, reproduce and copy a work in which copyright subsists. In Canada, all original creative works are automatically protected by copyright upon their creation and protection applies whether or not a copyright symbol appears on the material. Only the copyright owner or its authorized licensees have the right to decide when and how the work is to be copied, altered or made available. Regardless of format, the use, reproduction and distribution of copyright protected materials are subject to limits and restrictions.


  1. General

    Important developments in copyright law have created new rules for using copyright-protected work for educational purposes.

    The rules, known as the “fair dealing provisions,” allow use of copyright-protected works without permission from the copyright owner or the payment of copyright royalties if two important tests are met:
    • 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 dealing must be “fair” as determined by the Supreme Court of Canada’s six (6) identified factors for this test as related to a postsecondary institution. Refer to section 2.6 of this policy for an explanation of the six factors.
  2. Guidelines

2.1 Teachers, instructors, professors and staff members 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.

2.2 Copying or communicating short excerpts from a copyright-protected work under this 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.

2.3 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 postsecondary educational institution
  • As part of a course pack.

2.4 A short excerpt may mean:

  • Up to 10 per cent 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.

2.5 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.

2.6 Reproducing or communicating that exceeds the limits stated in this policy requires the application of the following six factors to determine if the copying is fair:

2.6.1 Purpose of the copying

2.6.2 Character of the copying

2.6.3 Amount of the copying

2.6.4 Alternatives to the copying

2.6.5 Nature of the work

2.6.6 Effect of the dealing on the work.

Concerns about copying or communicating that may exceed the limits stated in this policy should be referred to the Copyright Technician at (416) 491-5050 extension 77527 or copyright@senecacollege.ca. An evaluation of whether the proposed copying or communication is permitted under fair dealing shall be made based on all relevant circumstances.

2.7 Any fees charged for communicating or copying a short excerpt from a copyright-protected work must be intended to cover only Seneca’s costs, including overhead costs.

Supporting Documentation

  • None

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