Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This article examines the role of the recently introduced fair dealing exception for the purposes of parody and satire in Australian copyright law. Parody and satire, while central to Australian expression, pose a substantial challenge for copyright policy. The law is asked to strike a delicate balance between an author’s right to exploit their work, the interests of the public in stimulating free speech and critical discussion, the rights of artists who rely on existing material in creating their own expression, and the rights of all artists in their reputation and the integrity of their works. This article highlights the difficulty parodists and satirists have historically faced in Australia and examines the potential of the new fair dealing exceptions to relieve this difficulty. This article concludes that the new exceptions have the potential, if read broadly, not only to bridge the gap between humorous and non-humorous criticism, but also to allow for the use of copyright material to critique figures other than the copyright owner or author, extending to society generally. This article will argue that the new exceptions should be read broadly to further this important policy goal while also being limited in their application so as to prevent mere substitutable uses of copyright material. To achieve these twin goals, I suggest that the primary indication of fairness of an unlicensed parody should be whether or not it adds significant new expression so as not to be substitutable for the original work.
Download the article from SSRN here.