There is a disturbing trend starting in the adult industry, and it all centers on “fair use” and the definitions of “parody” and “satire”, versus adaptations of existing material that is then re-worked for an adult audience, with sex scenes added to the original material.
For one thing, we need to understand the definition of “Parody”. The definition is not over broad. It states categorically that
A parody (pronounced /ˈpærədi/; also called send-up, spoof or lampoon), in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation.
The Supreme Court weighed in on the case of Parodic and Satiric Fair Use in Campbell v. Acuff- Rose Music, Inc. in 1994 and the following is a synopsis of that ruling, that turned into the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. § 107):
The Supreme Court has unequivocally held that a parody may qualify as fair use under § 107. According to the Court, a parody is the “use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works.” (Id. at 580). Like other forms of comment or criticism, parody can provide social benefit, “by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.” (Id. at 580).
In other words, parodies can be considered “transformative” works, as opposed to merely “superseding” works. Since transformative works “lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine’s guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright,” the more transformative the parody, the less will be the importance of other § 107 factors that may weigh against a finding of fair use. (Id. at 579.)
So, if someone wanted to make a porn parody of the Hollywood musical, The Music Man, and named the leading lady “Marian Paroo”, set her in River City, Iowa and follow a style of story line, cinematography and genre that imitates and expands on “The Music Man” with an adult twist, that is actually fair use under copyright law.
How would that play? Well, let’s try a synopsis . . . .
Let’s say that we decide Marion is going to be the town librarian and is suspicious of a con man named Howard Hill who has come to River City to create an all-girl harmonica band. Hill has convinced the town’s people that he has the most pure and righteous intentions and this idea will make River City famous for it’s God Fearing, ecclesiastical, divine band – and it will only cost the town $75,000 dollars!
Well, Miss Marion finds out the truth behind his grand scheme is to train women to give perfect blow jobs, and not the “Church Picnic Band” that he’s telling the community leaders he’s forming, “filled with heavenly angels of the harmonica”. She realizes this because Howard Hill spends all of his time hanging out at the local whore house, and has never spent a minute talking to the girls at the church about being part of his all-girl harmonica band!
[Silly idea. However, it won’t surprise me if one of the “Parody Kings” in this industry steals it before 2011 is over . . . . sz]
Please remember that we would also have to re-score the entire thing, if we are making it a musical. The music and lyrics are also copyrighted to Meredith Wilson, along with the story.
However, what you can not do is take a copy of the script of an existing movie, following it word for word, character for character, and just insert a few lines that are new, and a few sex scenes to make it into a porn movie. That does not fall under “fair use” in the form of parody or satire, and is therefore not considered exempt from copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 107.
This is especially a concern with dramatic film works, that are then recreated as dramatic works where the script and characters have simply changed enough to allow the existing storyline to include sex scenes. This type of movie is properly called an adult remake, adult interpretation, or in some cases an adult adaptation, it is not a parody by definition!
Make no mistake, if the above is true of your intended adult video and you think you can just rework a script of any type, just adding in sex scenes that didn’t exist in the original, you are dealing with outright copyright infringement. You, and any distributor of your material, can be prosecuted to the full extent of the laws that govern copyright infringement. This includes retailers, cable and satellite carriers and broadcast stations. The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:
1. Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
2. The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
3. Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.
4. The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
5. The Court can impound the illegal works.
6. The infringer can go to jail.
[Most copyright infringement cases also carry an automatic $150,000 damages fine, so don’t get all excited it will only cost you $200 when you’re found guilty!]
We can not stress this enough – do not work with people that claim they know all about the adult industry but have no real experience in it! The real professionals of Start My Porn Company know and understand the copyright laws, US 2257 regulations and other laws and regulations that govern adult entertainment in all forms! When you work with Start My Porn Company as your adviser, you will avoid the costly and damaging results that you could fall into by making a movie that violates the copyright of another producer.