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Parody and "Fair Use"

Some of what appears on this site is parody: a humorous form of social commentary and literary criticism in which one work imitates another.

It dates back as far as Greek antiquity.

The question arises whether Copyright Law and Trademark Law prevent or permit parody.

Oh, were the law that simple. You see, it depends.

Copyright law Section 107 provides that "the fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as criticism [or] comment . . . is not an infringement . . . ,''. But it requires a case-by-case analysis rather than "bright-line rules".

The U. S. Supreme Court decision in 1994 regarding 2 Live Crew's parody of Roy Orbison's song Pretty Woman was a major ruling in this area. The court established that parody is a defense against copyright infringement claims.

In the case of Trademarks, the law provides some statutory "fair use" protection. But, because it is so narrow, the courts have added three additional categories: (1) nominative, (2) comparitive advertising and (3) parody.

In the web article (below) Baila H. Celedonia notes:

"A review of trademark parody cases give us no bright line rules. Rather, they appear to be a barometer of both the presiding judge's sense of humor and sense of fairness. As Tom McCarthy puts it, "a non-infringing parody is merely amusing, not confusing."

Bright lines or not, parody does provide some protection and to some extent, depending on the circumstances, parody may permit the use of copyrighted or trademarked material.

The parody on this site has been constructed to fall within the protections of "fair use" for both copyright and trademark.

Copyright & Parody

Court Rules Parody Can Be Exempt from Copyright LawCourt Rules Parody Can Be exempt from Copyright Law: Published in The Tech at MIT, this excerpt of a Washington Post article discusses the 1994 U. S. Supreme Court ruling on 2 Live Crew's parody of Roy Orbison's song Pretty Woman. 

The Pretty Woman RulingThe Pretty Woman Ruling: From the Cornell Law School, complete information on the 1994 U. S. Supreme Court ruling on 2 Live Crew's parody of Roy Orbison's song Pretty Woman

Trademark Fair UseDemi Moore, Dr. Seuss and Seinfeld: It discusses the protection of "fair use" as it relates to copyright, and in particular three important cases. Another article on the site of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C. 

That's Not Funny!That's Not Funny!: Parody is an American defense to copyright infringement. But in the international arena it is more limited or may not even exist. In some jurisdictions, the elements required for parody may directly violate the authors "moral rights" or "individual rights", rights not recognized in the United States. Another article on the site of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C.  

Trademark & Parody

Trademark Fair UseTrademark Fair Use: An article by Baila H. Celedonia of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C. It discusses the protection of parody for trademark use, as well as other protected uses.  

Parody No Automatic Defense to Trademark InfringementParody No Automatic Defense to Trademark Infringement: An article on the Sheldon & Mak website (a law firm specializing in Intellectual Property) discusses cases in which it was a defense and cases in which is wasn't and offers some comparisons. 

Trademarks on the Internet: How Does Fair Use Fare?Trademarks on the Internet: How Does Fair Use Fare?: Originally published in Trademark World, February 1999, this article discusses the fair use issues with emphasis on the internet.  

Richmond Journal of Law and Technology (V5N3, Spr.1999), "Click Here: Web Links, Trademarks and the First Amendment"Richmond Journal of Law and Technology (V5N3, Spr.1999) , "Click Here: Web Links, Trademarks and the First Amendment": Provides a discussion of trademark rights on the net, particularly in regard to linking. 

Links to me

The following pages have linked back to this page:

Camworld (27.Jan.2000)Camworld (27.Jan.2000) 

Neale Talbot's Wetlog (27.Jan.2000)Neale Talbot's Wetlog (27.Jan.2000) 

The extra text menu links (previously here) are being removed in the site redesign.
Browser and search engine improvements have eliminated the motivation/necessity for them.

This page created:
before
Wed, 27.Jan.2000

Last updated:
23:52, Wed, 12.Feb.2014

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