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Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569 (1994) p.610


fair use doctrine


2 Live Crew made a parody based on the song "Pretty Woman". The copyright owners of Pretty Woman sued for copyright infringement.


The District Court granted summary judgment for 2 Live Crew, the Court of Appeals reversed. The USSC reversed the Court of Appeals.


Whether the use of Pretty Woman by 2 Live Crew in its parody constituted a copyright infringement, or was it fair use?


Even if the parody is for commercial use, it does not automatically deprive it from a fair use defense. See the steps below under Rational for more rules.


It was error for the Court of Appeals to conclude that hte commercial nature of 2 Live Crew's parody rendered if presumptively unfair. No such evidentiary presumption is available to address either the first factor of the forth in deteriming whether this is fair use. The court also erred in holded that they had copied excessively considering the parodic purpose. We reverse and remand.


The song was a parody. There is a four factor test that must be applied: 1. purpose and character of the use (alsop considering whether the use is commercial or educational); 2. nature of the copyrighted works; 3. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole (substantial and quantive are looked at separately); 4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Applying the factors:
1. The more transformative the work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weight against a finding of fair use. Parody may claim fair use. If the commentary has no critical bearing on the substance or style of the original, the claim to fairness in borrowing from another's work diminishes accordingly. A parody is in good taste or bad does not and does not matter to fair use. This purpose was quite different than the original.
2. This is not much help in this case, or ever likely to help much in separating the fair use from infringers in parody cases.
3. We conclude that taking the heart of the original and making it the heart of a new work was to purloin a substantial portion of the essence of the original said the COURT OF APPEALS. Parody is different. Its art lies in the tension between a known original and its parodic twin. We think the Court of Appeals was insufficiently appreciative of parody's need for the recognizable sigh or sound whin it ruled 2 Live Crew's use unreasonable. We fail to see how the copying can be excessive in relation to its parodic purposes.
4. The parties failed to address this element. However, as to parody pure and simple, it is more likely that the new work will not affect the market for the original in a way cognizable under this factor, that is, by acting as a substitute of it.


Just because you have a parody, it does not mean it is automatically fair use. Have to still go through the factors and analyze each case on a case by case basis.

transformative - important because if you can show that the defendant's work is transformative, you can say you are promoting the arts which is the purpose of the copyright protections. Takes the original work a step farther.

Created on: Thursday, October 21, 1999 at 19:03:13 (PDT)

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