April 27, 2000
11:13 AM   Subscribe

Found this over at Free Advice in regards to the Elian Gonzalez Spoof Movie:

WHAT IS "FAIR USE" WITH RESPECT TO A COPYRIGHT? Copyrighted work may be used for certain limited purposes by people other than the owner under the doctrine of "fair use." "Fair use" includes reproduction for specific purposes such as:

criticism and comment, including parody
news reporting

I beleive that the movie is protected. How else could have the South Park used the photo in last night's episode? I doubt the AP is going to go head to head with Comedy Central over the issue. It is just easy for big companies to threaten the little people and know that they will win. What a shame.
posted by da5id (8 comments total)
I'm still working on confirming this, as I'm not a IP lawyer, it's just a hobby, but I think the exclusion clause for "parody" means that you must use the original material to parody the original material... not that you can use anything you want to produce a parody.

IMHO, the only 'parody' bit is the "Stormtroopers" crack at the end, which may not justify the rest of the photographs. Had they been saying something relevant to the original material, something other then "drinking a Bud, watching the game" the author would be safer.

Note: I'm not making claims as to the parody-ness of the video, I'm just trying to inform.

So, was it really a parody on the Elian situation (or something else relevant to the photo, like the tactics AP used to aquire it), or just some wacky thing some dude put together? I'm really kind of split on the issue. The "Stormtrooper" crack at the end may have been a parody of the situation, but may not justify the rest of the footage. *shrug*

Always more complicated then it seems before you start really getting into it.
posted by Jeremy Bowers at 2:16 PM on April 27, 2000

True.... this is a parody of the Bud spots, which protects them from Anheuser Busch... but it would have to be pitched as "editorial comment" or "satire" to also make the originator safe from the AP, ie: "These photos, and by extension this situation, are no more important than a beer commercial".

Satire is probably trickier to protect than parody; it's not as broad, by design.
posted by baylink at 2:34 PM on April 27, 2000

Actually, I think the entire controversey (and the media circus it inspired) was no more important than a beer commercial.
posted by ratbastard at 2:54 PM on April 27, 2000

No. It's an editorial comment in the form of a parody (not satire). It's a parody of the entire media circus. As such, it's a parody of both the Elian photo and the Bud commercial.

The original photo looked faked or staged, the parody also plays off that.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2000

You can still download the movie, though. ;)


Get it and spread it... like DeCSS.
posted by hobbes at 4:11 PM on April 27, 2000

Unfortunately, I know nothing about US law, but am presently studying law in New Zealand, our copyright law is based on the English law, and there is a provision that exclusive photographs are not allowed to be used.

I imagine there would also be a problem with the lack of acknowledgement to the owner of the copyright, AP.

But then again, this is English law.

posted by jay at 2:38 AM on April 28, 2000

Should I be the one to point out that it wasn't that funny in the first place?

Just checking.
posted by solistrato at 7:33 AM on April 28, 2000

Well, from my experience it seems that whether it's legal to parody or not is irrelevant.

It's a matter of raising a lot of cash and the ability to get a bigger, meaner lawyer to call their bluff. (which most people CAN'T afford).....

I've accumulated quite a number of "cease & desist" letters over the years... half of them didn't have a leg to stand on, but weren't worth fighting for, in my eyes. It was easier to take it down, and piss someone else off...

Maybe the letters will become "collector's items" one day? :0)
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 8:31 AM on April 28, 2000

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