WILL MAKING A PARODY LAND YOU IN COPYRIGHT TROUBLE?

About the author:

Sahil Malhotra is a IInd Year B.A. LL.B (Hons.) Student at National Law University, Delhi.


On 13 March 2019, the European Parliament passed the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Single Market Article 13 of the Directive requires online platforms to filter and remove copyrighted material from their websites, and makes these platforms liable for copyright infringement committed by the users. The objective behind this move is apparently to direct revenue from tech giants towards artists and journalists who actually create a lot of the content on the internet.[ii] Although copyright infringers are plentiful on online platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, a particularly interesting set of questions is raised by a relatively recent and particularly millennial form of content development – parodies and memes, which are possibly the biggest users of copyrighted material by volume for creating new content.

A parody is ‘an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect’[iii]. In recent years, the internet has exploded with the use of parodies, which are being used to poke fun at books, movies, pictures and music. Since a parody essentially involves the usage of a part of the material that it imitates, a parodist could possibly be susceptible to a copyright claim, where the original work is protected by copyright.

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