Fair Dealing for the Purpose of Education: York University v The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency

24 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021 Last revised: 10 Apr 2021

See all articles by Pascale Chapdelaine

Pascale Chapdelaine

University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 5, 2021


In York University v The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (2020), the Federal Court of Appeal was confronted with two issues at the heart of ongoing debates in Canadian copyright law. First, whether tariffs of copyright collective societies are mandatory. Second, and the main focus of this case comment, how should the fair dealing doctrine be interpreted with respect to the purpose of education. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the Federal Court decision that York University Fair dealing Guidelines did not meet the fair dealing requirements in copyright law. This case comment highlights how the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal failed to consider important contextual elements of York University Guidelines that might have led to different conclusions. It provides some guidance on how fair dealing for the purpose of education should be interpreted. While fair dealing has been characterized as a “user right” by the Supreme Court of Canada in CCH Canadian Ltd v Law Society of Upper Canada (2004) and subsequent decisions, this case comment points to some of the shortcomings of fair dealing as a vehicle to promote greater access to educational materials. It concludes by highlighting the challenges that lie ahead on the application of fair dealing to educational institutions, and by broadening the debate of access to educational materials beyond the fair dealing doctrine.

Keywords: copyright, copyright law, fair dealing, fair use, copyright user right, copyright infringement, exception to copyright infringement, education, copyright collective societies, copyright tariffs

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Chapdelaine, Pascale, Fair Dealing for the Purpose of Education: York University v The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (April 5, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3808146 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3808146

Pascale Chapdelaine (Contact Author)

University of Windsor, Faculty of Law ( email )

401 Sunset Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4 N9B 3P4

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