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April 28, 2004
Bush/Trump Mash-up Raises Copyright Questions
Martin Schwimmer's must-read Trademark Blog points out a very interesting video mash-up combining scenes from "The Apprentice" with footage of the president: Trump Fires Bush. Schwimmer also helpfully points to a very on point decision with regard to political parodies adopting commercial elements: MasterCard vs. Nader [PDF].
MasterCard sued perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader for trademark violations when Nader's campaign parodied MasterCard's famous "priceless" advertising campaign. Rightly, the case was dismissed at summary judgement. Of course, the MasterCard decision was a trademark case. In "Trump Fires Bush" actual footage from "The Apprentice" is used, raising a number of copyright issues.
Although I think there is a clear fair use defense of parody ... I can imagine a judge declaring that the use of NBC's footage is actually satire, which doesn't get a fair use defense.
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