2 Live Crew was a rap group who recorded a song called “Pretty Woman”. This song was based heavily on a prior work recorded and co-written by Roy Orbison. Orbison’s record label sued for copyright infringement. The Orbison version was a wistful ballad about a lovely woman walking. By contrast, the 2 Live Crew version was crude. However, copyright law does not take taste into account. The Supreme Court said that 2 Live Crew’s version of the song was legally a parody, though devoid of quality, and consequently was a fair use of the source material. Campbell v. Acuff-Rose was Decided on March 7, 1994.
More information is available at:
Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994)
If you have a question about copyright on campus, consult the Seattle University copyright policy. The SU copyright policy is “intended to provide subject-specific guidance and information to faculty, staff, and students about applicable law and the alternatives available to help accomplish educational objectives via the web.”
Nolo Press offers advice on how to avoid violating copyright law in managing a website. Much of the information is applicable to non-internet publishing as well. It briefly discusses copyright law, the “fair use” exception, getting permissions, and has links to other valuable websites on intellectual property.
If you have a question about copyright on campus, check out the detailed Seattle University copyright policy and the FAQ.
Need more information? Check out some popular books on copyright located in the bookcase behind the law library reference desk at call numbers: KF2995 – 3080.