Learn all about fair-dealing and how different is it from fair use.
Copyright is the law that protects your work from being copied or modified. Copyright infringement is the consequence of violating copyright law, i.e., someone copied your original work.
However, fair-dealing is an exception to copyright infringement.
Fair-dealing is a user’s right in copyright law of the commonwealth of nations such as Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The copyright acts in these countries state that the infringement on copyrighted work is equitable only if the work conducted is as per the fair-dealing policies stated in the act.
Fair dealing definition
Fair-dealing is the limitation and exception to the exclusive right provided by copyright law to the original work owner.
This exception allows people to use or “deal” with a copyrighted work without taking the necessary permissions from the copyrighted material owner.
The Copyright Act exempts fair-dealing, allowing people to use copyrighted work for research purposes, private studies, criticism or review, parody or satire, etc.
This is allowed only when the work conducted is “fair.” You must also mention the source and original author for your work to be considered in fair-dealing.
To consider a work fair, the court examines the following factors:
- Was it commercial or educational?
- How was used?
- How much was copied?
- The necessity of the work to be copied
- The nature of work
- How was the original work affected?
It is not a necessity to meet every factor mentioned above for your work to be determined fairly.
However, your work won’t be fair if you satisfy only one of those factors. When the court assesses your work for fair-dealing, all the factors will be looked at to determine the result.
The fairness of the work is judged objectively compared to its relevancy.
The work is considered fair-dealing if it satisfies the above factors and is used in research, study, criticism, review, parody, satire, and news reporting.
Works like criticism, review, or news reporting will require you to mention the author and the work source to be considered fair-dealing.
And no, fair dealing and fair use are two different exceptions.
Fair-dealing vs. Fair use
Fair-dealing and fair use are two related concepts under the copyright law, but they aren’t the same thing.
Different legal systems define their scope and definition.
Copyright itself is a highly confusing topic, and the similarities between fair use and fair dealing can be confusing.
However, looking at the underpinnings can help you better understand the differences between fair-dealing and fair use.
Fair-dealing refers to an exception to copyright infringement in the Copyright Law amongst the commonwealth nations. The copyright law in these nations allows for fair-dealing with copyrighted material only if it satisfies the specific criteria set down in the law for fair-dealing purposes.
If a work copied for other purposes than the aspects mentioned for fair-dealing, then the copied work won’t be considered fair-dealing, irrespective of the copier’s intention.
According to the US’s copyright law, fair use is an exception to an author’s exclusive rights for his/her original work. Unlike fair-dealing, which applies to a specific list of activities, fair use applies to a non-exhaustive list of activities.
Evaluation of fairness of fair-dealing and fair use is another difference between the two. Fair-dealing does not have a specific set of regulations to determine fairness.
The steps to determining the fairness of work may depend from case to case. However, fair use prescribes four factors to determine fairness.
- Purpose and character of the use.
- Nature of the copyrighted work.
- Amount and substantiality.
- The effect upon work’s value.
Fair-dealings by country
Mentioned below are the fair-dealings in different countries:
The grounds for fair-dealing in Australia are research and study, review and criticism, news reporting, legal advice, parody, and satire
Fair-dealing in Canada allows users to engage in research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, or news reporting. However, people need to mention the author and the source of the work in works like criticism, review, or news reporting to make the dealing fair. The deal is considered fair by six factors: 1) the purpose of the dealing, 2) the character of the dealing, 3) the amount of the dealing, 4) alternatives to the dealing, 5) the nature of the work, and 6) effect of the dealing on the work.
Fair-dealing in NZ is limited to some copying for private study, research, criticism, review, and news reporting. Factors determining the work to be fair are its purpose, its effect on the market, the nature of the work, the amount copied, and whether the work could have been obtained in a reasonable time at an ordinary commercial price.
In Singapore, the factors deciding the work’s fairness is the same as NZ’s. The works include research, criticism or review, news reporting, legal advice.
Fair-dealing in India is for the purpose like research (private or public), criticism or review, news reporting.
SA’s copyright allows for fair-dealing with a literary or musical work for research or private study, for criticism or review, for reporting news.
Fair-dealing in the UK is limited to research and private study, criticism or review, news reporting, parody, and illustrations.
The US follows a parallel concept of fair-dealing named fair use. (link article of fair use here)
The Different purposes of fair-dealing
1. Research and study:
Fair-dealing includes copying for research or study purposes, provided that you use less than a certain percentage for your work. If the amount exceeds the limit, certain factors will be considered before your work is considered fair.
2. Criticism or review:
You can use copyrighted material for criticism or review provided that you acknowledge the author and the source of the original work.
3. Parody or satire:
It is often covered as a fair deal when a parody or satire humorously modifies the work compared to the original work. However, the fairness of your work will require to satisfy relevant factors.
4. News reporting:
It is a fair deal when using copyrighted material to report news in a magazine, newspaper, films, etc. provided a proper mention of the original author and the work source.
To sum everything up
Fair-dealing is a clause that lets you work with copyrighted material under certain jurisdictions without violating any copyright laws.
It is an exception in the copyright law, allowing you to use copyrighted work for a specific set of purposes.
Someone copied my work and is claiming the fair-dealing clause on it.
You should consider the extent of work copied and the circumstances under which the person copied your work. Seek legal advice before taking legal action. Learn more about copyright infringement here (link to copyright infringement article).
Is it a fair deal if I copy work from the Internet?
You must first check for copyright statements on the material you want to copy. And when you are using the work, make sure your work falls under the aspects of fair-dealing.
Is photocopying copyrighted material a fair deal?
The purpose of photocopying comes under making a profit; therefore, it will not qualify as a fair deal.