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Copyrighted but Publicly Accessible
under copyright but freely accessible      The resource you are trying to access is FREELY AVAILABLE to the public. HOWEVER, it is still under copyright or it's copyright status is uncertain. This electronic resource may not have explicitly posted its copyright information and/or access terms & conditions of use. If this is the case, then assume that the website and its resources are under copyright.
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The Library also has FAQs on different aspects of Intellectual Property rights in an academic context:

  • About Copyright & Intellectual Property;
  • Copyright Resources;
  • Do's & Don'ts;
  • Public Performance Rights.

Fair Dealing is "the right, within limits" to reproduce a substantial amount of a copyrighted work without permission from or payment to the copyright owner. The Copyright Act of Canada clearly states that Fair Dealing for the purpose of research or private study does not infringe copyright.

While Fair Dealing provisions will apply, it is not likely to include the reposting/republishing of the material in a separate website or document, although permission can often be obtained for such use. Also, Canadian case law* has established 6 principles that are used to justify whether a particular use of copyrighted material is "Fair Dealing"
  1. The purpose of the copying
    What is your intent? Was the copying for research, private study, criticism, review, or news reporting? And does the copying fall within the provisions for in the Fair Dealing as outlined Copyright Act of Canada? Dealing for commercial purposes can be fair. However, one should be aware that some dealings, even if done an allowable purpose, can be more or less fair than other dealings. For example, research done for commercial purposes may not be as fair as research done for charitable purposes.

  2. The Character of the Dealing
    The character of the dealing relates to the manner in which the work was dealt with. That is, how were the works dealt with? Was there a single copy or were multiple copies made? Multiple copies that are widely distributed can be unfair; but, if the copy is destroyed after use, it may be considered fair. Were these copies distributed widely or to a limited group of people? What is the general practice in the industry? The custom or practice of the use of material in question can be used to assess fairness.

  3. The Amount of the Dealing/Copying
    How much of the work was used? Only a reasonable and necessary amount of copying is permitted however, this requirement is interpreted broadly. What was the importance of the infringed work? Quoting trivial amounts may alone sufficiently establish fair dealing as there would not be copyright infringement at all. In some cases even quoting the entire work may be fair dealing. But note that the greater the amount of the work copied, the higher the burden of justification will become. The amount of the work taken must be fair in light of the purpose of the dealing. For example, in the case of a photograph it is permissible to copy the entire work as it would be impossible to otherwise deal with the work.

  4. Alternatives to the Dealing/Copying
    Was a "non-copyrighted equivalent of the work" available to the user? The availability of a non-copyrighted equivalent may be relevant. And was the dealing "reasonably necessary to achieve the ultimate purpose"? It is important to note that the Supreme Court has ruled that the "availability of a license is irrelevant to in considering alternatives to the dealing" (see paragraph 70 CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339).

  5. The Nature of the Work
    The nature of the work refers to the public availability of the work. Copying from a work that has never been published could be more fair than from a published work because its reproduction (with acknowledgment/citation) can lead to a wider public dissemination of the work - one of the goals of copyright law. Fair dealing also applies to both published versus unpublished, or confidential versus non-confidential materials. However, if the material in question was confidential, this may tip the scales towards finding that the dealing was unfair.

  6. Effect of the Dealing/Copying on the Work
    Does the use compete with the market of the original work? That is, is it likely to affect the market of the original work or have a detrimental economic effect? A dealing which competes with, or is a substitute for, that of the copied work is unlikely to be fair because it deprives the copyright holder of sales. However, a plaintiff MUST provide evidence and prove that there has been a detrimental impact upon the market for its work.
* see pages 319-324 of: D’Agostino, G. (2008). "Healing fair dealing? A comparative copyright analysis of Canada’s fair dealing to U.K. fair dealing and U.S. fair use". McGill Law Journal. 53:2, 311-363.


Material posted on the Internet typically enjoys copyright protection, even in the absence of access controls or a copyright notice. Such material can be considered subject to an implied license for use if that use is consistent with the material’s presentation. This includes any action that the website empowers such as:

  • viewing;
  • displaying from a computer screen;
  • linking; and/or
  • exercising the web-browser’s “print”, “save”, “copy” and “send” functions.

Any electronic resources listed in the StMU Library's Electronic Resource Directory which have the copyright copyright logo provide access to content that is assumed to be under copyright, that is UNLESS that resource states that it has been released under a Creative Commons License , or it declares itself to be an open access open access resource or in the public domain public domain . In some cases a single resource may provide access to a range of materials that fit 2 or more of these categories.