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A parody is constitutionally protected free speech. Yes, they can sue regardless, but I think your leverage is higher in that scenario. I am not a lawyer. I hope the creator has spoken with one in case.



Note that that only applies in the US; not every jurisdiction recognizes the right to parody, and the Apple store may choose to enforce the lowest common denominator, or any other capricious policy they choose.

Also, the constitution does not mention the right to parody. It doesn't even exist in the section of US code describing fair use (17 USC 107), just in the history of case law surrounding fair use. Parody gets interpreted by the courts as part of the test to determine fair use, and not always in favor of the parodist.


It depends. If you are parodying X while making a comment about X, that's probably in the clear. But if you're parodying X while making a comment about Y, that's problematic. See Penny Arcade's difficulties with parodying Strawberry Shortcake while commenting on American McGee's take on games.


To be fair, PA didn't make any attempt to litigate that. American McGee told them to take it down, and they did, essentially no questions asked.


They didn't make any attempt to litigate it, because, as I understand it, a lawyer told them it was not a good idea (http://www.penny-arcade.com/2003/04/21):

We are, of course, talking to our lawyer about all this stuff. Readers have referred us to many sources in an effort to clarify our position legally, sites like Chilling Effects act as clearing houses for data useful in situations such as this. Also, interesting cases have been brought to our attention - for example, Aqua’s song “Barbie Girl” was contested by Mattel, and Aqua still came out on top (as it were). In darker news, Matt from MacHall send this interesting bit - check page 3, “Dr. Seuss Enterprises Vs. Penguin Books.” To my mind, that precedent doesn’t mean anything good for us.


I clicked on this, forgot about it and looked at the tab a while later. I only realized I was looking at old comics after a couple of fairly confusing minutes, wondering about the odd art style and why on Earth they were back to playing Phantasy Star Online, but effortlessly integrating the "fact" that there's a new EverQuest expansion coming out that is similar to the previous ones. I guess that one is a timeless fact.


For the record it was American Greetings that C&D'd them, not American McGee.


Exactly, parodying Y using a pastiche of X is not considered fair use of X.


Apple however is free to suppress anything they want in the app store, so I guess we'll see.


It's not free, they charge you 30% for the privilege of violating you tenderly at their whim.

(sorry, couldn't resist)

It's also not free as in GnuBeer either, since as a general rule they generously decline to explain the reverses in policy (pet theory: it is based on the retrograde motion of Sirius the dogstar, since Apple is clearly controlled by the reptillian lizard-people from there)




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