Answered By: Siu Chen Lim
Last Updated: Aug 22, 2019     Views: 287

Understanding the meaning of fair dealing will help you decide whether your use of NUS Libraries materials is in conformity with the copyright laws of Singapore.

Literary, Dramatic, Musical and Artistic Works and Audio-Visual Materials

  • If you are copying for the purpose of criticism or review, this is fair dealing provided you provide sufficient acknowledgement of the work (i.e. title and author)  
  • If you are copying for other purposes, including research and study, there are 5 factors you should consider together when deciding whether a dealing with a work is fair:-


Favour Fair Dealing

Weighs against Fair Dealing

Purpose of Copying?

Non-profit educational


Nature of the Work?

Factual, public interest in dissemination


Quantity Copied?

Small portions of the work e.g. abstracts or video clips

Entire work

Possibility of Obtaining Alternative Copy Within Reasonable Time at Ordinary Commercial Price

Reasonable attempts have been made to seek permission from copyright owner without success

License for use is available for purchase  

Effect of Use Upon the Market

Work is out-of-print

Copying does not compete with sale of work

Creator has lost potential revenue through re-use of work

Special Deeming Provision When Copying for the Purposes of Research and Study

Where copying is done for the specific purpose of research and study, when deciding what is a “reasonable portion” for purposes of coming within the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Act,

  • the Copyright Act deems 1 chapter or 10% of the number of pages a reasonable portion
  • where the work is stored on an electronic medium and not divided into pages, 10% of the total number of bytes or 10% of the total number of words is deemed a reasonable portion 

For works that are not literary, dramatic, musical or artistic (e.g. sound recordings, films) the Copyright Act contains no deeming provision as to what constitutes "reasonable portion". We recommend you do not make a copy. 


The content in these FAQs is meant for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal counsel and does not constitute legal advice.

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