COM 201 – Communication Ethics
We have spent the last couple of weeks talking about copyright and fair use. Based on your understanding of the “four factors” commonly used to assess whether a fair use case has merit, craft an argument either for or against fair use in the following cases. Each response should be 250-300 words.
Garbage Pail Kids
In the 1980s dolls called the Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage. People would line up during the holiday season to get one, often paying exorbitant prices. At the same time, the Topps Company – a well-known manufacturer of baseball cards – started selling a series of cards called the “Garbage Pail Kids.” The images on the cards resembled the Cabbage Patch kids, but included character names like “Adam Bomb.”
Question: Coleco, the makers of the Cabbage Patch Kids, sued Topps for copyright infringement. Does Topps have a fair use claim? Why?
Lenz v. Universal Music Corp
Stephanie Lenz posted a video that included her children dancing to the song “Lets Go Crazy” by Prince to YouTube. The clip is 27 seconds long. Universal Music, the copyright holder of the song, persuaded YouTube to issue a takedown notice. Lenz challenged the takedown notice based on fair use. Does Lenz have a fair use claim? Why?
The Hope poster
During the 2008 Presidential election, street artist Shepherd Fairey produced a poster with a stylized image of candidate Barack Obama and the word “Hope” underneath. He sold the poster on the street and elsewhere during the campaign. The work was created using a photograph from the Associated Press of Obama at a press conference. The Associated Press sued, claiming copyright infringement of the original photo. Fairey claimed fair use. Is Fairey’s fair use claim valid? Why?