The Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) includes several exceptions to the exclusive right of copyright holders, including the provisions concerning “fair dealing”, which state that fair dealing in respect of a literary or artistic work for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, or news reporting does not constitute a violation of copyright. Our objective in this paper is to characterize the role and nature of this exception from the standpoint of contemporary economic theory and analysis and in the light of the recent Supreme Court of Canada on this subject (CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 339, 2004 SCC 13).

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