Parody Laws by Country

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United States

In the U.S., parody is generally protected under the First Amendment and the doctrine of “fair use.” This allows creators to use copyrighted material for purposes like criticism, comment, and satire without permission from the original author.

United Kingdom

In the UK, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act was amended in 2014 to allow “fair dealing” with a work for the purpose of parody, caricature, or pastiche, without infringing copyright.

European Union

EU member states have a similar approach to the UK, following the 2001 Information Society Directive. However, the implementation varies from country to country.


Canada’s Copyright Act allows for “fair dealing” for the purpose of parody and satire, similar to the U.S. and UK.


Australia’s Copyright Act was amended in 2006 to include a “fair dealing” exception for parody and satire.


Japan has stricter copyright laws, and there is no specific provision for parody. However, some exceptions may apply under “quotation” clauses.


India’s Copyright Act of 1957 includes provisions for “fair dealing” for private use, including criticism and review, which can sometimes cover parody.


China’s copyright laws do not have explicit provisions for parody, making it a legally risky endeavor.

South Africa

South Africa’s Copyright Act does not have a specific provision for parody but does allow for “fair dealing” for the purpose of criticism and review.


Brazil’s Copyright Law allows for the reproduction of small excerpts of a work, without the author’s consent, for the purpose of criticism or debate.


Russian copyright law does not have specific provisions for parody, and it is generally not considered an exception to copyright infringement.

Middle Eastern Countries

Most Middle Eastern countries, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have strict copyright laws with no specific provisions for parody.

African Countries

Copyright laws in African countries like Nigeria and Kenya are generally not as developed, and there are no specific provisions for parody.

Fair Use vs. Fair Dealing in Copyright Law

Fair Use

Fair Use is a legal doctrine primarily used in the United States. It allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders. Factors considered in determining fair use include:

  1. The purpose and character of the use (e.g., commercial vs. educational)
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used
  4. The effect of the use on the market value of the original work

Fair Use is more flexible and open to interpretation, often assessed on a case-by-case basis. It can cover a wide range of uses, including commentary, criticism, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Parody is also often protected under Fair Use.

Fair Dealing

Fair Dealing is a legal doctrine used in many Commonwealth countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. It is generally more restrictive than Fair Use. Fair Dealing specifies the purposes for which copyrighted material can be used without permission. These purposes often include:

  1. Research and study
  2. Criticism and review
  3. News reporting
  4. Parody and satire (in some jurisdictions)

Unlike Fair Use, Fair Dealing requires that the use of copyrighted material must fall under one of these specific categories to be considered lawful. Some jurisdictions also require that the use be “fair,” considering factors similar to those in the Fair Use analysis.

In summary, Fair Use is generally broader and more flexible, allowing for a case-by-case analysis, while Fair Dealing is usually more restrictive, specifying the exact purposes for which copyrighted material can be used without permission.

Note: Laws can vary widely and are subject to change. Always consult legal advice for specific situations. This summary is not exhaustive but aims to provide a general overview of parody laws around the world.

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