What is fair dealing?

Fair dealing comes into play when you use existing material that doesn’t fall under copyright laws. Copyright laws vary from country to country, so make sure you thoroughly read every country’s laws before you decide to use the existing material in a fair way. In this blog, we share with you how to stay on the good side of Indian and Singaporean copyright laws.

Usage of the original content falls under fair dealing if:
  • The content is for non-commercial use: Whenever you borrow content to use for non-promotional purposes such as using it for your interest, educative purposes or research, you are safe from copyright increment cases.
  • The content is being reviewed: You will often come across review and discussions about works of literature, especially in online forums or influencer pages. In such cases, the owner of the copyrighted material cannot file for copyright infringement. In fact, the owner would benefit here, as his/her work is getting directly promoted through such discussions.
  • The content is subject to news and source of information: If copyrighted material is used as a source of reference or for informative purposes, it is safe from infringement offenses.
  • The content is adapted into a different literary form:  If the original content is used as a reference point to create new content forms, then the new content will not be scrutinized for infringement.
  • The length of the new content:  If new content uses only 300-400 words of the original content, then the new content is safe from infringement.
  • The new content does not hurt the market value of the original content: If the new content is promoted in a manner that it doesn’t interfere with the sales of the original content, then the new content will not be scrutinized for infringement.

Indian copyright laws only cover the first three scenarios as fair dealings, while Singapore laws cover all six. Bear in mind that the concept of fair dealings is very vague among copyright laws in all countries; it can be tough to win a case should you be caught for infringement. Your best bet is to get permission from the owner of the copyrighted content.