Parody Fair Use

News & Analysis as of

Law à la Mode: A new provision for trademark parody - is it a joke?

A number of fashion players base their business on the very thin line running between tribute and misappropriation. In this context, it is difficult to understand how quotations of wellknown fashion trademarks made with...more

Trademark Review | February 2016

The Federal Circuit Considers Constitutionality of Refusal to Register Scandalous and Immoral Marks - The Lanham Act prohibits registration of marks that are defamatory, scandalous or immoral. Last month, in In re Tam,...more

Louis Vuitton and My Other Bag – Do You Get The Joke?

In a recent post, we discussed the trademark parody defense in the context of a California district court decision holding that the owner of the Superman “S” logo had adequately stated infringement claims asserted against a...more

Transformative Parody Entitled to Independent Copyright Protections - Keeling v. Hars

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a district court in a rare instance where a playwright’s derivative work—a parody—fell within the fair use doctrine and acquired sufficient originality to warrant...more

Famed Artist Jeffrey Koons Sued For Alleged Copyright Infringement…Again

Jeffrey Koons is well-known to artists, auction houses, and copyright enthusiasts. His works of art have fetched substantial sums of money, including one that recently sold for more than $58 million—the most expensive work...more

Parody Writers Take Note: Fair Use Parody + New Elements = Copyright Protection

On October 30, 2015 the Second Circuit held that an unauthorized parody that makes “fair use” of its source material is eligible for copyright protection and that copyright protection may extend to a work that exhibits the...more

Court Provides Fair Use Guidance On YouTuber’s Use of Viral Video

This copyright case pitted two big YouTube content brands against each other over issues of fair use. On one side is Equals Three, LLC, a YouTube content studio and channel created and owned by Ray William Johnson, an early...more

The Juice Runs Out for Yankee Parody Trademarks

A good general business practice is to apply to register trademarks early. You’ll find out if there is an issue. You’ll have time to change rather than having to take everything off the shelf under the threat of a lawsuit....more

The House That Juice Built: TTAB Denies Registration To Parodies

On May 8, 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued a resounding blow to trademark applicants who seek to register others’ trademarks as parodies. In New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and...more

Imported from “Dertroit”

Readers of the blog know the dangers of selling unlicensed apparel and the oft-litigious stance of Major League Baseball when it comes to defending its marks.  But a recent viral t-shirt phenomenon may just be one time the...more

Crafting an Effective Fair Use Defense

The beer industry is rife with trademark legal issues. We’ve discussed quite a fe here, including disputes over brewery names, attempts to register as a trademark the design of a beer glass, or the longstanding issue of...more

CJEU clarifies scope of exception for parody: not just joking around

Under Belgian law, a copyrighted work may be used without the authorisation of the author(s) for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche. In the absence of any clear guidance on the interpretation of the concept of...more

The Art of Parodying a Global Mega-Brand

In February 2014, comedian Nathan Fielder orchestrated an ambitious publicity stunt – he crudely poked fun at global mega-brand Starbucks. His elaborate prank could have been a costly one. Fielder treated a long queue of...more

You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Fair Use

If you’ve got a Facebook account, the following video has probably made an appearance or two (or twenty) in your status feed last month...more

Goldieblox, Inc. v. Island Def Jam Music Group, et al.

Complaint for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief

An action for declaratory and injunctive relief to establish the rights of a toy company, GoldieBlox, in connection with a parody video set to the tune of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls.”...more

Need A Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift? Be Careful!

Do you need to buy a last minute Valentine’s Day gift? You may be thinking of picking up the best-selling book Fifty Shades of Grey. Be careful – you need to read this post so that you are not confused and buy something else....more

Controversial Film “Escape From Tomorrow” Shows Need to Protect Intellectual Property

“Escape From Tomorrow,” one of the most controversial films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, has put copyright and trademark law, as well as the question of what constitutes parody, in the spotlight. The film reminds...more

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