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Author Topic: "Fair use" in Canada
Oualawouzou
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Hello there,

Wasn't sure where to post this, figured this was as good a place as any...

From what I know, it is legal in the States to parody about any work, even without the copyright owner's consent, as long as the parody is otherwise legal (as an example, doesn't fall into libel or whatnot). This is often referred to as "fair use". Disclaimer: I haven't researched the US laws, this is what I got from following a few Internet-related legal fights.

Just for kicks, I went and checked for Canada ( http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en ). I found the appropriate section that lists all exceptions to the copyright act but found absolutely no reference to parodies, pastiches, satires... Was I looking in the wrong place? Or do the Canadian law really has no equivalent to "fair use"?

Thanks!

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Le champignon arrive.

Posts: 4372 | From: Quebec | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Oualawouzou, parody is not fair use. Oversimplified, fair use refers to using part of the original work without needing explicit permission.

Parody is saying you haven't infringed because your work is different from, although inspired by, the original.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I've just looked up the exceptions to copyright here.

The use of parody is not copyright violation, not because it is an exception, but because it has not been listed as a violation. Copyright law is one of those things, in Canada, where you have to predict its violation, rather than justify how a violation is not a violation.

The big caveat on that is: you cannot profit from it. If you profit from it, monetarily, then you are in violation.

So, in summary, parody is not a violation because it is not listed as a violation. Second, you are in the clear, as long as you do not profit from it.

That is until the next court challenge comes up. [Wink]

Posts: 2064 | From: New Brunswick, Canada | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Oualawouzou
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Thanks for the precision, Seaboe. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by UEL:

The big caveat on that is: you cannot profit from it. If you profit from it, monetarily, then you are in violation.

I'm not 100% certain I understand... because that'd mean that all the humor magazines out there who, as an example, create parodies of movies are illegal. Or, more precisely, that the artists who draw those parodies and are remunated for it are in violation of the law. [Confused] I feel like there is a piece of the puzzle missing?

--------------------
Le champignon arrive.

Posts: 4372 | From: Quebec | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I researched this years ago when I was doing some writing.

I'm off to find the details. I'll get back to you.

[Cool]

Posts: 2064 | From: New Brunswick, Canada | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Actually, I have to confess. I was mixing up parody with serious work. To what I am referring is the use of others work for extensive research.

I found my old work, and I have used that experience in the past to comment on copyright here, but it was for research and profit, not parody and profit.

I'll pass on my torch to someone with a bit more acumen in this department.

[Frown]

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Oualawouzou
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Sorry for the extra trouble. I appreciate that. If I had the slightest idea of where to look, I'd help you help me!

--------------------
Le champignon arrive.

Posts: 4372 | From: Quebec | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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It's no extra problem.

I'm building a rink in the backyard right now and am using snopes to warm up [Wink]

I thought your question was one I could answer off the top of my head, yet when I actually looked, the answer was not as clear cut as I once thought.

Cheers [Smile]

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Canuckistan
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I believe parody would fall under the fair comment section of libel law. In essence, under Canadian law, since it's an opinion you're expressing through parody, it's protected.

I'm not completely certain, though.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Oualawouzou
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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That's a good find, Canuckistan. Though it's true, it's not terribly clear weither parody = opinion or if there is a nuance to be made... The French version isn't clearer, unfortunately.

--------------------
Le champignon arrive.

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Canuckistan
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Oualawouzou:
That's a good find, Canuckistan. Though it's true, it's not terribly clear weither parody = opinion or if there is a nuance to be made... The French version isn't clearer, unfortunately.

My guess is that that's where the lawyers come in.

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People need to stop appropriating Jesus as their reason for behaving badly. It's so irritating. (Avril)

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Oualawouzou
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I just found this document about a recent court case that tackled this issue. The document references courts in Quebec, though I thought this was of federal responsibility... arg...

In short: a pornographic movie was created after a popular TV series. Two questions had to be answered:
-Did the makers of the alleged parody borrowed "too much" from the original work;
-Was the alleged parody, in fact, a parody.

Conclusions from the court: the alleged parody did borrow "too much" from the original work, right down to the credits format. Their only defense would be to prove it's a parody: however, from what I can find in this article, a parody must criticize or exagerate in some way on the original work, something this particular movie did not do enough to be considered a parody. Therefore, the conclusion was that it "borrowed" heavily from the TV show purely to cash in on its success, which is illegal.

So... From what I gather, you can do one of the following:

-Borrow not too heavily from an original source, no matter what you do with that material. There is a very subjective line not to cross with that.
-Borrow heavily from an original source to criticize it in one way or another.

Urg... Ok, so that means we have a pretty good protection. This is a double-edged blade: on one hand, any time you make money off a parody (in the colloquial, not legal sense of the term), you can be suspected of trying to "cash in". On the other hand, it is not something easy to prove given its subjective nature so in the vast majority of cases, you won't run into any trouble.

I think that's about as precise an answer we'll get... This is both fascinating and migraine-inducing.

Thanks for your help everybody.

ETA:
quote:
My guess is that that's where the lawyers come in.
Indeed.

--------------------
Le champignon arrive.

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Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I am much wiser now, thank-you.

[Smile]

Posts: 2064 | From: New Brunswick, Canada | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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