JibJab video: parody or satire?
First watch this JibJab.com video featuring a parody/satire of the song "This Land is My Land" and starring Bush and Kerry, it probably will not be up for long.
The owner of the copyright in the song doesn't think that little video is as funny as you do. The company, The Richmond Organization, is breaking out the lawyers on JibJab.com. Ironically, The Richmond Organization can be shortened to "TRO," which is probably what they are seeking against JibJab at the moment (that's a "temporary restraint order" 'round these parts).
So, as happens at least once a month, we are back to discussing the difference between a parody and a satire. Simply put, a parody targets the original content or creator, for example if the JibJab video targeted how lame the song or it's lyrics are then it would be parody. Satire uses the work to comment on something other than the original content or creator. A work can be a parody if it contains elements of both parody and satire.
The JibJab video would likely be considered satire, because the video does not directly target the original song. The clear target here is Bush and Kerry or politics/society in general. Also, if the video is a commercial use of the song, that will hurt JibJab's case. Commercial use is loosely defined, that the video brings people to a site where there are things offered for sale would be enough.
TRO is upset about the use of the song because apparently:
...the Jibjab creation threatens to corrupt Guthrie's classic [song] -- an icon of Americana -- by tying it to a political joke; upon hearing the music people would think about the yucks, not Guthrie's unifying message.
Here's more on the difference between parody and satire: the "iRaq"/iPod ads; TV Commercial Jams; parody or satire?
Here is a more recent post in which I consider that the JibJab video may actually be a parody. We will really never know now whether the video would have been found to be a parody or satire due to the recent settlement. Congrats to the JibJab guys for sticking it out. Most companies just fold when threatened.
*****UPDATE****: There's a discussion of my recent "Parody or Satire?" posts over at The Importance of... Ernest Miller disgrees with me that the JibJab video is satire, noting that the JibJab version concerning division certainly attacks the meaning of the original, which was a message of unity. But Lawrence Lessig agrees with me here, and links to me here, thanks Larry! (I guess after a link we are on first name basis, right?)
****UPDATE****: The JibJab crew have contacted the EFF concerning the threats of lawsuits by TRO.
***UPDATE***: This post linked to on Slashdot, here.