Article: Where the bloody hell does parody fit in Australian Copyright Law?

(Image from Downwind Media.)

My article on parody has recently been published by the Media & Arts Law Review.

You can get it here: Nicolas Suzor, 'Where the bloody hell does parody fit in Australian copyright law?' (2008) 13(2) MALR 218. With many thanks to the MALR and Lexis Nexis publishing, it is available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 (AU) licence. If you republish, please attribute both MALR and Lexis Nexis as first publishers.


This article examines the role of the recently introduced fair dealing
exception for the purposes of parody and satire in Australian copyright law.
Parody and satire, while central to Australian expression, pose a substantial
challenge for copyright policy. The law is asked to strike a delicate balance
between an author’s right to exploit their work, the interests of the public in
stimulating free speech and critical discussion, the rights of artists who rely
on existing material in creating their own expression, and the rights of all
artists in their reputation and the integrity of their works. This article
highlights the difficulty parodists and satirists have historically faced in
Australia and examines the potential of the new fair dealing exceptions to
relieve this difficulty. This article concludes that the new exceptions have the
potential, if read broadly, not only to bridge the gap between humorous and
non-humorous criticism, but also to allow for the use of copyright material to
critique figures other than the copyright owner or author, extending to society
generally. This article will argue that the new exceptions should be read
broadly to further this important policy goal while also being limited in their
application so as to prevent mere substitutable uses of copyright material. To
achieve these twin goals, I suggest that the primary indication of fairness of
an unlicensed parody should be whether or not it adds significant new
expression so as not to be substitutable for the original work.