Copy This Podcast Episode 9: Parody Isn’t Always a Laughing Matter

From social media, to videos, to 24-hour cable news, media has a significant influence over how we perceive the modern world. With such a pervasive influence, it is subject to wide criticism and commentary. In the 9th episode of Copy This, host Kirby Ferguson talks with Jack Lerner, Clinical Professor of Law at the University of California-Irvine about the right and wrong way to legally criticize media and the concept of parody.

Fair use comes in all forms including using YouTube to catch highlights of your favorite sports teams, or watching late night critical commentary by John Oliver or Samantha Bee. TV shows like >The Simpsons and Family Guy which routinely satirize literature, pop culture and music for humorous effects, are possible because of fair use.

In the podcast, Lerner explains that criticism and commentary are by far the most common forms of fair use and helps listeners better understand the often misunderstood subset of fair use, parody. Lerner defines parody as “imitating works in a comedic way” and cites a Supreme Court case where rap group 2 Live Crew was sued for releasing a parody song of Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman” as an event that changed copyright law forever by ruling in favor of the parody.

He also points out that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fair use, and that each case is treated independently from the next, referencing Refuge from the Storm by Michael Donaldson as an important resource.

For more from Kirby and Jack on fair use, be sure to also check out Kirby’s new video as part of his “Everything is a Remix” series.

Copy This is available to listen on Soundcloud, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Overcast and Pocket Casts.

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