Lots of people agree that we need a new right to make parodies of copyrighted works. We have asked some of them for permission to be listed as supporters. (They are not responsible for the content of this website). Here's what they told us:
Graham Linehan, writer of IT Crowd, Father Ted and the theatrical adaptation of The Ladykillers:
One of the reasons digital technology is so exciting is because every individual has access to a multitude of creative tools and just as many ways of reaching a huge audience. From simple photoshop jokes to short films or even feature films, we are living through a revolution in creativity, and parody is an important part of that revolution. Now, as someone who works in what is sometimes called Old Media, I have a layer of lawyers between what starts on the page and ends on the screen, but most don't. As a result, I see too many examples of funny, creative parodies forced off the Internet for no good reason.
I hope politicians are brave enough to ensure that, through a new parody exception, we have a copyright law that allows aspiring comedians to make the most of the wonderful opportunities of the digital age.
Alex Cox, Director of Sid & Nancy:
The protection afforded to parody in the USA remains immensely important - I cannot legally draw and sell a picture of Mickey Mouse, but I can legally draw and sell a picture of Mickey Mouse drinking the blood of innocent artists and creators. To infringe upon this right as UK law currently does is morally outrageous and a breach of my freedom to speak, or write, or draw, or film as I see fit.
I actually find it pretty bizarre that just because something is considered funny (or, more specifically, parodically funny) it is deserving of more protection from draconian copyright law than something (whatever, a statement, a piece of art, a document) which is 'serious'. Commenting, sampling, building upon and creating derivatives is a basic fact of all artistic practice, not just parodies.
The rest of copyright law should be brought in line with the USA's approach to parody - artists need the freedom to create. These constant infringements of our creative and social rights by massive media corporations, and the continual extensions of copyright terms are censorship, impure and simple.
Rob Manuel, editor of B3ta.com, and the B3ta creative community:
For the last ten years I've co-run a website called B3ta.com. Our site does 15 million pages per month and our newsletter is read by over 100,000 people.
B3ta.com is about grassroots creativity, encouraging people to pick up the tools of the internet and use them to make jokes, entertain each other and ultimately help people flower their creativity into new careers. Along the way we've played a part in the careers of a generation of people who are the bright new talents in the UK's creative industry. Our alumni include Ben Wheatley, one of the most feted directors of recent years who has just had a hit film with Kill List, music producer Swede Mason who has taken his mash-ups into the top 40 and figures like Joel Veitch, Jonti Picking and Cyriak whose animations have become a mainstay of advertising.
In the ten years of B3ta we have had various problems with lawyers and copyright holders. Unfailingly business uses copyright to suppress criticism and humour, so we're very excited by a new exception for parody and pastiche. This would be enlightened policy making.
Those who can afford lawyers use copyright to shut down legitimate criticism. We fully support the proposed move to allow parody and pastiche to be exempt from copyright. This would be sane and fantastic policy. We hope the government does the right thing.
Jenny Ricks, ActionAid UK head of campaigns:
In our increasingly globalised world, multinational companies have a significant impact in developing countries. When a well know company isn’t living up to human rights obligations or its own corporate responsibility standards – for example by mistreating women workers in its supply chain, or by dodging its tax bills in poor countries, ActionAid has a responsibility to speak out and hold the company accountable.
One of the most effective and impactful ways we can do this is by parodying a company’s brand. This tactic has undoubtedly helped achieve tangible improvements in the lives of poor people. Government proposals to introduce a right to parody would enable organisations like ActionAid to undertake effective, targeted campaigns, without the current legal and financial risk we’re forced to assume. Every little helps!
Daniel Clarke, from comedy team Mother's Best Child, whose parody video of the Olympics was taken down following legal threats from the Olympic legal team:
As comedy writers our first intention was to make people laugh. But the glaringly obvious hypocrisy in staging a billion pound event at a time of austerity and social unrest was a satirical gift. I find it outrageous and more than slightly comical that an organisation this large can be so concerned with crushing something so small as a Mother's Best Child sketch. Does it surprise me that the creators of the London 2012 mascots don't have a sense of humour? Erm, no.
Wealthy corporations and businesses have an unhealthy and growing influence over the decisions that affect our communities – especially poor and disadvantaged communities. Parody is a vital tool in campaigns which allow poor and marginalised people to speak out, and to challenge the power of these unelected, unaccountable bodies.