Fair Use in Action

by on June 23, 2007 · 6 comments

The original:

The parody:

The lawyer letter.

But Warner/Chappel Music Inc. of Los Angeles said the video infringes on its copyright to “We Are the World.” The song raised money for famine relief the video featured some of U.S. music’s biggest stars, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen.

“According to our records, no request has been made to use the Composition, no authorization has been granted nor has any license been issued for the use of the Composition on the website,” Kelly Isenberg, the company’s director of legal and business affairs wrote in a May 8 letter to the church.

The fair use claim:

Inasmuch as any use of “We Are the World” constitutes a parody and other fair use; given the parodic purpose and character of “God Hates the World;” its transformative elements; the complete lack of any commercial use; and the complete lack of any market substitution or confusion; your demands are respectfully denied. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. “God Hates the World” is clearly a parody of “We Are the World,” targeting that work with criticism and commentary, including commentary with critical bearing on the substance, style, nature, approach, marketing-of-an-idea-purpose, and various other aspects of the original work, in many particulars. The nub of the parody is to mimic the worldwide unity the song purports to reflect and encourage, and criticize that unity as God-defying and the heart and soul of why God hates the world, in our view of the matter.

The guy has a point; fair use permits bigoted parodies as much as any other kind.

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