Fair Dealing

Section 29 of the Copyright Act allows faculty to use a short excerpt from a print copyright-protected work without permission from, or payment to, the copyright holder as long as two Fair Dealing tests are passed and you cite the source.

Humber's Fair Dealing policy, based on Section 29 and Supreme Court of Canada decisions, is designed as a "safe harbour". Faculty who stay within the limits of the policy will not infringe copyright.

Fair Dealing Tests >

To qualify for fair dealing, two tests must be passed.

  1. The dealing must be for a purpose stated in the Copyright Act.
    • Is the copying for: education, research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, satire or parody?
    • Educational use of a copyright-protected work passes the first test.
  2. The dealing must be "fair". Supreme Court of Canada decisions provide guidance as to what this test means.
    • What is the amount of the dealing?
    • A short excerpt of a copyright-protected work can be copied and distributed to students.

Reproducing or distributing multiple short excerpts from the same copyright-protected work, with the intention of copying substantially the entire work, is prohibited. Therefore, copying that falls outside of the safe harbour requires permission.

Short Excerpt Explained >

A short excerpt is:
  • Content from up to 10% of any print work OR
  • One chapter from a print book or textbook OR
  • One article or page from a print journal/magazine/newspaper


  • One single print book chapter even if the pages copied exceed the 10% limit
  • 48 pages from a 480 page print book or journal issue
  • Up to 21 pages of images, graphics and/or diagrams from a 210 page print work

Email copyright@humber.ca if the amount you'd like to copy is more than a short excerpt. We will investigate permissions and/or possible costs.

Distribution & Scanning >

Faculty can distribute a short excerpt in any form. The short excerpt must include the citation. Examples:

  • Class handouts or assignments
  • Content included in presentation slides
  • Copies available at the library reserve desk
  • Scanned files posted to Blackboard since it is password-protected and only eligible students have access

Scanning Tips

Tips for creating scanned content for online use:

  1. Scan the material at 300 dpi.
  2. Include the item’s title page (front and back). These pages satisfy the citation requirement for Fair Dealing.
  3. Open the scanned file in Adobe Acrobat and use the ‘Enhance Scans’ feature to make the text in the document searchable and straighten the pages.

Why is scanning allowed now?
The concept of technological neutrality was clarified in the ESAC v SOCAN decision.

  • Sec 5 of the ESAC decision states ...
    "In our view, there is no practical difference between buying a durable copy of the work in a store, receiving a copy in the mail, or downloading an identical copy using the Internet. The Internet is simply a technological taxi that delivers a durable copy of the same work to the end user."
  • Sec 9 of the ESAC decision states ...
    "The principle of technological neutrality requires that, absent evidence of Parliamentary intent to the contrary, we interpret the Copyright Act in a way that avoids imposing an additional layer of protections and fees based solely on the method of delivery of the work to the end user. To do otherwise would effectively impose a gratuitous cost for the use of more efficient, Internet-based technologies."

Online Subscriptions and Library eResources >

Fair Dealing copying and distribution allowances do not apply to personal online subscriptions or Library eResources.

Personal Online Subscriptions

  • These sources are subject to contractual obligations that restrict the use to only the subscriber.
  • Content from Globe Unlimited and other online newspaper subscriptions cannot be shared with students without payment.
  • Content from Next Issue and other online magazine subscriptions cannot be shared with students without payment.

Library eResources

  • These sources are subject to vendor licences which dictate content use.
  • Content from Humber Libraries’ online journals and eBooks can be printed and distributed as handouts in class.
  • The PDF versions of library online articles and eBooks cannot be uploaded to Blackboard.
    • Instead, copyright staff can create links to these eResources for you; email us for details.
  • Humber eResources cannot be used to teach at other institutions or for commercial purposes.
  • Other institutions’ eResources may not be used to teach at Humber.

Course Packs >

Course packs typically include short excerpts such as book chapters or journal articles.

The journal articles or eBooks may be available in the library eResources.

Alternatives to Course Packs

  • Short excerpts can be posted to Blackboard as long as the source is cited
  • Copyright staff can help you link to library online articles and/or eBooks in Blackboard
  • Funding is available for permission to use content that exceeds the fair dealing limits

Email us to learn how to distribute your course pack readings so students can save money.

Choose from the list to find eResources specific to that type.