Join us to continue

Members and subscribers get unlimited access
to all our articles, guides, videos and resources
for as little as £5.99 a month.

Already on board? Sign in below

The law changed in 2014. Even if there is copyright use, the law says that “fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody, or pastiche does not infringe copyright”.

Unfortunately parody, pastiche and caricature are not fully defined, and fair dealing has no statutory definition, being a matter of fact, degree, and impression in each case. This exception is intended for ‘limited, moderate’ use of another’s material. The courts will consider commercial factors, such as the degree to which the parody affects the market of the original work and any financial loss caused. They will also undergo a quantitative and qualitative analysis of whether the amount of work taken is ‘reasonable and appropriate’.

It may not be considered ‘appropriate’ if the use would associate the original character with something unsavoury or discriminatory. In 2013, the Court of Justice of the European Union disallowed the publication of a calendar which contained a reproduction of a drawing of the front cover of the Belgian comic, Spike and Suzy, which was published in the 1960s, because, among other things, the copyright holders were opposed to the racial implications of the parody. 

The situation is different in the United States since United States copyright law contains specific reference to the author controlling sequel rights.