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Fair dealing

Fair dealing allows limited copying (including photocopying) of items for research for a non-commercial purpose, provided that it is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement, or for private study. According to the Copyright Design and Patents Act, private study 'does not include any study which is directly or indirectly for a commercial purpose' (s. 178)

There is no statutory definition of fair dealing and no set limitations. The following list is derived from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence and summarises the amount of copying which is considered reasonable under fair dealing. These guidelines do not apply to any copying for commercial purposes.

Up to 5% or one complete chapter (whichever is the greater) from a book.

Up to 5% or one whole article (whichever is the greater) from a journal issue.

Up to 5% or one whole paper (whichever is the greater) from a set of conference proceedings.

Up to 5% or one whole case report (whichever is the greater) from a published volume of judicial proceedings/law reports.

Up to 5% of an anthology of short stories or poems or one short story or one poem of not more than 10 pages (whichever is the greater).

It is not permitted to make multiple copies for teaching purposes unless your university has negotiated an appropriate additional licence with the CLA, this is explained on the next page.

Why observe copyright regulations?

  • The right of authors and publishers to receive financial remuneration for their work.
  • The good practice of acknowledging source and ownership of materials.
  • A breach of copyright can lead to civil and criminal prosecution and fines.
  • The CLA and other licensing bodies monitor institutions to ensure that regulations are being observed.
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