Parody Question?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Parody Question?

Post by MRJudorules »

If I were to make a musical parody in the UK, with the instrumentals of a song, would that be breaching copyright laws? If it is, then would it be suitable for me to perform the song myself but just different lyrics (So I play the song on my instruments), would that be OK? Thanks
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Post by AndyJ »

A bit late i know but seeing as no one else has answered your question I'll give it a go.
Copyright applies separately to the various elements which make up a song: the lyrics, the music, the performance and the recording can all be individually protected.
I will assume that the song you want to work with is in copyright (for example, it's not an old folksong which is in the public domain). You don't mention how you want to parody the song, but I assume you mean set different but similar lyrics to the same music. Parody is not a concept that UK law has fully come to terms with, and in most cases making a song with very similar lyrics could lead to prroblems, espoecially if you want to earn money from your work. However there is no grey area as far as using the music is concerned: to do so without permission would be an infringement of the composer's copyright. Even using riffs or small parts of the music can cause problems, if this usage amounts to a substantial part of the musical work. Subdstantial can be either quantitative or qualitative.
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