[Updated on April 3, 2013, to include Liberia.] More than 40 countries with over one-third of the world’s population have fair use or fair dealing provisions in their copyright laws. These countries are in all regions of the world and at all levels of development. The broad diffusion of fair use and fair dealing indicates that there is no basis for preventing the more widespread adoption of these doctrines, with the benefits their flexibility brings to authors, publishers, consumers, technology companies, libraries, museums, educational institutions, and governments.
Fair dealing was first developed by courts in England in the eighteenth century, and was codified in 1911. Fair dealing became incorporated into the copyright laws of the former British Imperial territories, now referred to as the Commonwealth countries. Over the past century, the fair dealing statutes have evolved in many of the Commonwealth countries, and increasingly resemble the fair use statute in the United States. Thus, although fair dealing is generally considered to be less flexible and open-ended than fair use, this is no longer the case in many Commonwealth countries.
This handbook contains all the fair use and fair dealing statutes we were able to identify.
THE FAIR USE/FAIR DEALING HANDBOOK (Last updated May 7, 2013)