Friday, September 05, 2014

EU judges rule that there is no free speech for parody

European Union judges have ruled that parody is not acceptable when it goes beyond "an expression of humour or mockery" and contains a "discriminatory message".

EU courts, not known for a sense of humour, have made a judgement under European copyright law after a far-Right Belgian party used a parody of cult comic characters to make a political point about immigration.

Three years ago, a member of the Vlaams Belang, a Flemish anti-immigration party, handed out calendars with a cover page based Suske en Wiske, Spike and Suzy, cartoon characters that have been as famous as Herge's Tintin in Belgium for almost 70 years.

The far-Right parody took a Suske en Wiske book cover, the "Wild Benefactor", showing a character scattering coins from a helicopter to the delight of people on the street, to depict the mayor of Ghent throwing money to Muslims wearing burkas and Arabic looking turbaned men.

Several heirs to Willy Vandersteen, the creator of the comics, and other holders of the rights to the cartoon characters brought a breach of copyright action against Vlaams Belang, which claimed an exception under rules allowing political caricature and parody.

In a ruling for the Belgian courts, EU judges declared freedom of expression did not override copyright when being used for politics aimed at discriminating against groups of people.

"If a parody conveys a discriminatory message (for example, by replacing the original characters with people wearing veils and people of colour), the holders of the rights to the work parodied have, in principle, a legitimate interest in ensuring that their work is not associated with such a message," said the EU court.



Anonymous said...

The EU Court is correct.

Bird of Paradise said...

Just be happy were not part of the Euroweenie Union we just got to stop the North American(Soviet)Union

Anonymous said...

If it had been lefties misusing the cartoon that would be ok I suppose? Judicial activism in my book.

Anonymous said...

This is potentially a dangerous precedent as it appears to suggest that any political satire exception will not apply to an unpopular subject matter.

Stan B said...

all someone has to claim is "offense" and political satire goes out the window. It's a ridiculous ruling that completely eviscerates the "fair use" of parody, because it really depends on who's ox is being gored as to whether the copyright "laws" apply.

Anonymous said...

Free speech is never free. “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
― George Washington

stinky said...

The EU Court is correct.

The EU Court is politically correct.


Go Away Bird said...

Loo what happens to a nation when liberal wanks take over will they learn from this mistake?