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Can you be sued for copyright violation, for making fun of published works?

well, me and my girlfriend wanted to make a show that makes pardies of published works like "Harry Potter". The question is asking if we can be sued for copyright violation if we do that, without paying the royalty for it.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term "fair use" originated in the United States, but has been added to Israeli and the UK law as well; a similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.

    Fair use and parody

    Producers or creators of parodies of a copyrighted work have been sued for infringement by the targets of their ridicule, even though such use may be protected as fair use. The fair use cases addressing parodies distinguish between parodies—using a work in order to poke fun at or comment on the work itself—and satires—using a work to poke fun at or comment on something else. Courts have been more willing to grant fair use protections to parodies than to satires, but the ultimate outcome in either circumstance will turn on the application of the four fair use factors.

    In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. Supreme Court recognized parody as a fair use, even when done for profit. Roy Orbison's publisher, Acuff-Rose Music Inc., had sued 2 Live Crew in 1989 for their use of Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" in a mocking rap version with altered lyrics. The Supreme Court viewed 2 Live Crew's version as a ridiculing commentary on the earlier work, and ruled that when the parody was itself the product rather than used for mere advertising, commercial sale did not bar the defense. The Campbell court also distinguished parodies from satire, which they described as a broader social critique not intrinsically tied to ridicule of a specific work, and so not deserving of the same use exceptions as parody because the satirist's ideas are capable of expression without the use of the other particular work.

    A number of appellate decisions have recognized parody as a protected fair use, including both the Second (Leibovitz v. Paramount Pictures Corp.) and Ninth Circuits (Mattel v. Walking Mountain Productions). Most recently, Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin, a suit was brought unsuccessfully against the publication of The Wind Done Gone, which reused many of the characters and situations from Gone with the Wind, but told the events from the point of view of the slaves rather than the slaveholders. The Eleventh Circuit, applying Campbell, recognized that The Wind Done Gone was a protected parody, and vacated the district court's injunction against its publication.

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