Come 1st October 2014, new rules come into force making parodies legal in the UK under copyright law:
[Previously] a Brit couldn’t parody something unless they’d been given direct permission from the creator or paid for a license. That meant for most people, making a parody was legally impossible, and saw several famous instances of works being pulled from YouTube…
What is it that you can and can’t do under the new rules? For a start, you can make a pastiche, caricature or parody, and while there’s no word on transformative works (i.e. mashups like Buttery Biscuit Base and They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard) we’d imagine they’re pretty safe, too. What you can’t do is making something so similar, that people might buy or listen to your work instead of the original … You’re also not able to contravene the original creator’s moral rights, which means you need to give credit where necessary and you can’t defame the author by association.
Of course, copyright law isn’t always strictly followed, but in the past the legal restrictions have both stopped many people and also meant that a successful but illegal parody could get pulled from mainstream distribution sites.
The changes (which Liberal Democrats in government have been instrumental in supporting) are therefore good news for parody in general, and also in particular good news for the creation of political parodies in the run-up to the 2015 general election.
Let’s see what people do with this extra legal protection to be funny…*
* P.S. Please be nice to Nick Clegg. Please.