Fair use and fair dealing for libraries
Copyright is present in many librarians’ everyday work. Even when it is complicated and unnecessarily burdensome, librarians need to be able to deal with the laws they have in order to make library services work, and advocate for better provisions
Some national copyright laws, however, aim to facilitate life for users (and the librarians who serve them) by giving a greater measure of flexibility, while avoiding causing harm to creators. Fair use and fair dealing are just such approaches. They give the right to make certain uses of copyrighted works without permission. This contrasts with the exceptions and limitations in continental law.
The key criteria in both cases is whether a work which is “fair”. In the case of fair dealing, there are additional conditions to be met, with less flexibility to adapt to changes, but more legal certainty when judging what is fair.
During this year’s fair use and fair dealing week, IFLA is happy to share a new infographic giving an idea of how fair use and fair dealing compare, with the help of IFLA's Copyright and Other Legal Matters (CLM) Advisory Committee. We hope that this will enhance understanding of what these terms mean, and what copyright law can offer libraries.
*Disclaimer: The infographic does not intend to provide for any legal advice.
Last update: 19 February 2020