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August 22, 2011
"What.." Makes Fair Use Easier
Nate Anderson's piece for Ars on Brownmark Films v Comedy Partners et al is too funny for me to do justice to. You should go read the original. The gist, for you folk who want to know what you're getting into first, is that a decision last month in Wisconsin in the suit over South Park's parody of the viral YouTube video for "What What (In the Butt)" may help people who want to cite fair use defenses in copyright cases.
In particular, the judge agreed to a motion to dismiss on fair use grounds very early in the case, well before trial and even before the discovery phase began. If such early proceedings catch on it could significantly ease the way for defendants who want to raise fair use defenses and as a result make these defenses much less expensive. Since parodists are often independent or small operators without deep pockets for legal bills this can be a good thing.
(h/t +Donna Wentworth, who used to blog here, for the pointer.)
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