Parody and Satire

Although Parody and Satire have been used by artists for centuries as a means of critical social comment, New Zealand lacks a copyright exception that protects these valuable forms of creativity. Australia introduced a Parody & Satire exception in 2006, and US artists have been able to defend their right to make parodies and satires for decades through Fair Use. We think that copyright laws that punish NZ artists who make parodies and satires are unfair. Let’s fix copyright and introduce a Parody & Satire exception to our Copyright Law.

The internet has radically changed the way we communicate, access information, and contribute material to the social and cultural spheres. In particular, affordable internet devices and software that makes it easy to modify and make copies of digital media has created a culture where the production, publication and distribution of artistic works has never been easier.

Textual quotation, remix, and critique are protected forms of artistic expression, in part due to copyright law’s response to long established text-based copying technology such as the printing press. Home computers have allowed unprecedented access to video and audio production, however the law hasn’t kept up with the public’s desire to comment using current technology.

There is now a proliferation of remix and mashup culture. Many of these new works are parodies or satires, however this form of creativity isn’t protected by New Zealand copyright law. Subsequently, they are illegal creative works.

Despite this, New Zealand artists are still producing these kinds of artworks at risk of prosecution. Two examples are the Telecon parody and Should-A.com.

International Precedents

  • Australia implemented an exception to copyright for the purpose of parody or satire as part of it’s 2006 Copyright Amendment Act
  • A number of EU countries including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain also have parody exceptions to their copyright laws
  • In the Scandinavian countries transformative or derivative works are generally permitted without the copyright holder’s consent
  • Germany allows the creation of transformative or derivative works under a “free use” mandate (without requiring a copyright holder’s permission) provided the work meets certain conditions, for example, being distinct from the original
  • The United States’ Fair Use provision is generally interpreted to allow parody, satire, and remix due to its grounding in the constitutional right to Freedom of Speech

By not addressing the realities of our culture of copying by legally protecting the work of artists making parodies and satires New Zealand is rendering important artistic works illegal, and putting the artists who make them at risk.

New Zealanders should be allowed to create Parodies and Satires without fear of legal repercussion.

What You Can Do

  • Write to Government: remember, there’s no point getting angry so be polite, respectful and clear in your correspondence. It’ll be more persuasive that way.
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  • Support us: As a not-for-profit organisation we rely on the generosity of our supporters. Any donation you can make to CFF will help us towards achieving this goal.

Read More

  • Read blog posts relating to this goal here.