Saturday 2 December 2023

Parody for your right to fight, and fight for your right to parody.

The video [It's only a theory: Jimmy Dore vs. Greta Thunberg and "THE VEGANS"] contains the audiovisual copyright of “More Than A Feeling” by Gamazda. Meanwhile, the video’s content itself is in reference to veganism and environmentalism. Parody comments on the copyrighted work itself, while satire uses copyrighted work to comment on another subject. As the video you’ve produced does not comment on Gamazda’s performance or the song “More Than A Feeling,” it qualifies as satirical commentary rather than parody.,not%20that%20specific%20creative%20work.




Thank you for your reply: although I disagree with your analysis of both the law and how it applies to this situation, I appreciate that you've taken the time to write in reply to me, and (evidently) to watch the video in question.

You are mistaken as to the meaning of parody both in courts of law (qua fair use) and apropos YouTube's transformative content policy.

To answer with a pragmatic example first: the works of Weird Al Yankovic would be illegal if your claims were true.  They are not.

Parody need not be on any particular topic --your notion that it must "comment on the copyrighted work itself" and not "another topic" is false.  Again: the example of Weird Al Yankovic is sufficient to prove the point.  If your claim were true, a parody of Sherlock Holmes would be strictly limited to making jokes about Sherlock Holmes, and not any other political issue.  And this is untrue.

From YouTube's perspective, the only criterion to be satisfied is that my song is not a substitute for your song: nobody will buy my album instead of yours, nobody will think that I am you —copyright infringement per se.  Any parody whatsoever satisfies this definition of transformative content: the specific political point (and the extent to which it is satire or parody) is immaterial.

The legal definition is actually even more broad and all-inclusive: there is absolutely zero ambiguity that original lyrics set to a familiar song qualifies as fair use.  There is no legal requirement that a parody even be funny or comedic: court precedent holds that completely dry political statements count as parody --and, again, there is no restriction on what kind of political statement it may be.

Thank you, again, for your reply: I do think you have misunderstood the court precedents I've already quoted to you.  Even Wikipedia will help to explain to you the implications of fair use doctrine in this area, if you have another few minutes to spend on the matter.

I say again: you cannot win.  You will be presented with the option soon enough to prove that you've hired a lawyer to take me to court.  Otherwise, YouTube will reinstate the video, in accordance with both company policy and the law.

Eisel Mazard


[Below: this is the first message in the sequence of three, incongruously appearing third.  This is pretty much my "boilerplate" response to threats of legal action of this kind, at this point.]

This concerns my parody video found on YouTube:

This is a parody presenting original lyrics over a familiar melody for purposes of comedy and social criticism: there is absolutely zero ambiguity as to how American law and YouTube policy apply in this case.

Representatives of your organization have filed an erroneous takedown notice that will remove this video (from public view) within seven days.

Quoting Cornell University's Legal Information website:

"In the United States, parody is protected by the First Amendment as a form of expression. However, since parodies rely heavily on the original work, parodists rely on the fair use exception to combat claims of copyright infringement. The fair use exception is governed by the factors enumerated in section 107 of the Copyright Act: (1) the purpose and character of the use; (2) the nature of the original work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the original work used; and (4) the effect on the market value of the original work. Generally, courts are more likely to find that a parody qualifies as fair use if its purpose is to serve as a social commentary and not for purely commercial gain."

Quoting Wikipedia:

"Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994), was a United States Supreme Court copyright law case that established that a commercial parody can qualify as fair use.[1] This case established that the fact that money is made by a work does not make it impossible for fair use to apply; it is merely one of the components of a fair use analysis."

Note that this court precedent (510 U.S. 569 (1994)) directly concerns a parody song (original lyrics over a beat/music owned by someone else).

This is the most clearly protected form of freedom of speech under (1) Youtube's own policies, (2) U.S. law and also (3) Canadian law.  Youtube has its own guideline videos on "fair use" and "transformative content" that explicitly protect this form of free expression —and it is even more expressly protected when the purpose is political commentary social criticism.

If it were not legal to create original lyrics over an established melody (or beat) that would have a chilling effect on both comedy and political discourse: it would create two classes of speech, one that can be criticized, and one that cannot (indeed, the latter class could not even be quoted without violating copyright).  Fair use is not a trivial concept, ethically, legally or politically; parody itself may seem trivial, but the suppression of parody through the misuse of copyright claims on youtube is a substantial violation of civil rights.

[The link to the same video again:]