Fair Dealing 

Fair dealing is a term used in UK law. It is our equivalent of the American ‘fair use’ doctrine, and it functions very differently.

Fair dealing is a concept which is used in conjunction with specific exceptions. Our table of exceptions shows which ones must be used with fair dealing.

There is no legal definition of fair dealing, therefore no set amount of a work that can be used for a specific purpose. Instead, you should consider how a fair and reasonable person would view the use of the work.

Some factors that should be taken into account:

  • Have you acknowledged the author and/or copyright owner, where practicable to do so?
  • Does the copying act as a substitute for the work?
  • Are you copying more than is necessary for achieving the purpose of the exception?
  • Can less be used to achieve the same purpose?
  • Could the copying affect the market for the work i.e could it cause the copyright holder to lose revenue?