We’re NASA and We Know It.

Searching around Youtube® today, I found this funny satire by a group, oddly enough, named Satire.  Their video is a parody of LMFAO’s song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” and the events surrounding Curiosity’s successful landing.  A parody is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment as a “distorted imitation” of an original work for the purpose of commenting on it.  For example, when an author or artist ridicules a well-known work by imitating it in a comedic way.

Like Satire’s video.

To the extent that the parodist copies material protected by copyright, the publication may be considered a copyright infringement unless excused by fair use.

The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Copyright protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in a work.

The safest course is to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material or use material that you know is in the public domain.  Another option is work created under the Creative Commons License.  I will post more about that in the future.

When it is impracticable to obtain permission, you should consider avoiding the use of copyrighted material unless you are confident that the doctrine of fair use would apply to the situation.  If there is any doubt, it is always advisable to consult an attorney with experience in copyright matters.

If you made a video and have questions regarding fair use, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

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