Monday, November 3, 2008

Parody or Satire

There's been a few comments lately about the use of copyrighted characters and items in Foldees cards, and I thought I'd just clear this up before our next contest. Yes, we did discourage the use of Copyrighted characters in our previous contest, but this was more because we didn't fully understand the difference between a parody and a copyright.

Now we kinda do, although the line is still grey in some areas. Very simply, according to U.S. Copyright laws (and Americans should be the best at this sort've thing)...

Parody is an authorized use of copyrighted material, but satire is not.

Whoah, okay. English 101 lesson here for a second. "What in Mario& Luigi's name is the difference?", I hear you asking. Well, in very very simple non-technical terms...


A Parody is something that used a property (e.g. star wars) to make fun of itself within that universe. This means that Star Wars characters can make fun of each other, or their situations. For instance, Darth Vader dressing up as Santa Claus and giving his son, Luke a present, is a parody. This is because if it wasn't Darth Vader or Luke, this wouldn't be very funny. As far as we understand, this is totally cool with George Lucas (please don't Force Sue us!).

A Satire, on the other hand, is something that uses a property (e.g. star wars) to comment on a societal situation that doesn't involve that character, usually with an intention other than humour (although it might be funny). For instance, Darth Vader slicing through an American ballot box. In this case, you have to ask, "Why does Darth Vader hate American politics?" That's when George Lucas will bring his lawyers down on you and use the Wookie Defence to sue you (and us) for billions of dollars.

However, this only applies to copyrighted characters and likenesses. So how do you know when something's copyrighted? Well, chances are, anything that you've seen in a movie, comic or any modern medium in the past 50 years could safely be considered under this category. Most publications and media have really really teeny tiny text in them somewhere that says they own everything and have the right to sue you to oblivion if they want to.

Most times, they won't unless it's offending in nature, or causes them loss of revenue in some way. However, we'd prefer to at least play it a wee bit cautious, even if at the end of the day, we want you guys to go nuts.

So, for the time being, as long as it's tasteful AND funny or witty, and non-political, we'd probably let it by. Do let me know if I've made any factual errors in this article.

In the meantime, go wild!


bem69 said...

Great informative post there Chak. This should help a lot of people in the future.

chak said...

thanks bem!

I hope it does. While we're not lawyers ourselves, we should at least clarify our own stand on this to avoid confusion amongst the rest of you.

Ud33n said...

Thanx chak for the info..Ya,i agreed with bem.Hopefully the visitors or the voters understand what parody and satire is all about.CHILL~