New legislation allowing the parody of copyright works set to come into effect

On the 1st October new legislation will come into force that will allow the parody of copyright works. The new European Copyright Directive, will allow the use of the material so long as it is fair and does not compete with the original version. Under the current rules, using material from films, TV shows or songs would put you at  risk of being sued for breach of copyright if the clips were used without consent. However, under the new rules owners of the copyrighted works will only be able to sue if the parody conveys a discriminatory message. The case would then go to a judge to decide if the parody is funny or not. The new EU rules state “The only, and essential, characteristics of parody are, on the one hand, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it and, on the other, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery.” “If a parody conveys a discriminatory message (for example, by replacing the original characters with people wearing veils and people of colour), the holders of the rights to the work parodied have, in principle, a legitimate interest in ensuring that their work is not associated with such a message.” Comedy writer Graham Linehan, who put together TV shows such as The IT Crowd and Father Ted, said the new legislation change was “a brilliant thing”. “Artists need to be protected, but recently there’s been an automated quality to some of the legal challenges. You might do something and you know full well the author of the original work will love the thing your doing and see it as a tribute or friendly nod, but the lawyers – they don’t see any of that, they just see something they have to act on.” The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with intellectual property solicitors in Coventry and across the country.