10 of Our Favorite Parody Songs to Celebrate the Day They Became Fair Use
On this day in 1994 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that parodies, commercial or non-commercial, do not violate copyright law. 2 Live Crew had applied for permission to parody Roy Orbison's "Oh Pretty Woman," but were refused. They made the song anyway, and after a quarter of a million copies were sold, Acuff-Rose Music sued Crew and Luke Skyywalker Records for infringement.
The Supreme Court disagreed (inadvertently enshrining 2 Live Crew in law libraries everywhere when Justice David Souter included the complete texts of the lyrics in his majority opinion), and ever since then mocksters have been completely free to appropriate songs in the name of humor. Today, presented in no particular order, we celebrate songs that are lawyer-proof thanks to Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
Author's Note: Weird Al has been purposely excluded from this list due to his obvious unfair advantage.
10. Pope Friction, "The Wii Didn't Start the Fire"
I'll try not to make this too video-game-heavy, but I've always thought that Pope Friction's game take on "We Didn't Start the Fire" was not only brilliant but the most respectful to the original Billy Joel composition.
9. Somakat, "The Star Wars I Used To Know"
Loath as I am to admit Gotye's existence for any reason, I cannot deny that Somakat couldn't have picked a better tune to up the emo factor of both Anakin himself and fanboy butthurt over the prequels. Plus, there's a strange beauty to saying he was "treated like a bantha and it feels so rough." Good on Teddy Films for the idea and Israel Curtis's splendid vocals.
8. Jason Kinney, "Neutra Face"
Sometimes the most amazing thing about parodies is seeing the kind of things that people can come up with to sing about. For instance, Jason Kinney, a magnificently bearded bastard, uses Lady Gaga to elucidate, reiterate and syncopate on fonts. It's half Bloodhound Gang, half weird guy who smells like soup mix talking to you in the elevator.