Fair Dealing Flowchart

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It is important to determine whether your copying falls within fair dealing. This page sets out the factors you should consider when making that determination. Whether your copying is fair depends on your particular circumstances. If you are not sure, contact the Copyright Office for assistance. 


Step One: Check whether your copying is for a permitted purpose

Are you copying the work for the purpose of research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire, or parody?


Yes - Continue to the second step

No – Consult our Before You Copy page.  Is the copying permitted under an Act exception or licence?   


Step Two: Check whether your copying is fair

The factors below can assist in determining whether a specific reproduction is fair.


Nature of the Dealing

Less Fair

More Fair




Character of the Dealing

Multiple copies; Widely distributed/repetitive

Single copy; Limited distribution/one-off

Importance/Amount of Work Copied

Entire Work/Significant excerpt

Limited/trivial amount

Effect of Dealing on the Original Work

Competing with original work

No detriment to original

Nature of the Work


Unpublished/in public Interest

Available Alternatives

Non-copyright works
available; Not necessary for purpose

No alternative works;

Necessary to achieve


Learn more about whether your copying falls within fair dealing with these interactive decision-making tools:


This website provides educational information. It does not provide legal advice. 


Source: University of Waterloo. (n.d.). Fair dealing flowchart. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/copyright-at-waterloo/fair-dealing-flowchart.  [Reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.]