Copyright Office

Personal Use

There are limited provisions in the Copyright Act for copying material that you own for personal use. These provisions include space shifting of recorded music, timeshifting television and radio programs and format shifting other types of material such as books, magazines or photographs.

Personal Use is not the same as Fair Dealing for Research & Study. The differences are outlined below:

Personal Use
Fair Dealing for Research & Study
  • You must own a copy of the material being reproduced.
  • Purpose of copying - for your own private use.
  • Works can be copied in full.
  • Copies cannot be lent or shared with anyone.
  • The work being copied must be a legal (i.e. non-pirate) copy.
  • Artistic works, Sound Recordings & Films can be copied in full.
  • You do not have to own a copy of the material being reproduced. The material can be held in, or borrowed from, a library, for example.
  • Purpose of copying - must be for research or study
  • The amount copied is limited to 10% or 1 chapter whichever is greater. (More can be copied if it is considered 'fair'.)
  • Copies can be in the same format as the original (e.g. a photocopy of a book).
  • The work being copied must be a legal (i.e. non-pirate) copy.
  • Artistic works, Sound Recordings & Films can only be copied if they satisfy the five factors for fairness.

Space Shifting of Music Recordings

The term 'space shifting' means to convert a format such as a CD, DVD or audio cassette into an electronic format that can be transferred to a computer or portable media player such as an iPod. It is a similar concept to format shifting. The Copyright Act allows legal (non-pirated) music recordings to be space shifted for personal use. This means that it is legal to copy a CD that you own onto your own iPod on MP3 player or create a compilation CD from CDs that you own to listen to in the car, for example. However, certain other limits apply:

Time Shifting Television and Radio Programs

Time shifting means to record a television or radio program so that it can be viewed or listened to at a later, more convenient, time. The Copyright Act allows television and radio programs to be time shifted for personal use. Certain other limits apply:

Format Shifting

Format shifting is similar to space shifting but the copy is rendered into a different format; for example, a video recording is transferred to a DVD or an audio cassette recording is transferred to a CD. Under this provision in the Copyright Act, only material that you own can be format shifted and it is limited for personal use only. Not all types of material are covered. For example, you can scan a book, magazine or photograph into a digital format, print out an e-book or reformat a video onto a DVD, but you are not permitted to format shift computer games. Certain other limits apply:

top of page