Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The relationship between factor 3 and factors 1 and 4

Some have suggested that even if KLF’s version of K Cera Cera (1) is a genuinely creative and original work (i.e., a “transformative work”) and (2) has no effect on the primary or derivative markets for Que Sera, Sera, the fact that it appropriates virtually all of Que Sera, Sera militates against a finding of fair use. This argument, grounded in the third first use factor – “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole” – is, in essence, as follows:

K Cera Cera could have evoked the meaning it draws from Que Sera, Sera (a distinctly American naïve and fatalistic optimism expressed both in the song’s lyrics and in its identification with Doris Day’s public persona) by simply appropriating one chorus, not the entire work. Since K Cera Cera instead used virtually the entirety of Que Sera, Sera, it fails the third fair use factor and therefore cannot be fair use regardless of its originality and market impact

There quite plainly are statements by courts that the third fair use factor suggests that appropriation of copyrighted works must be limited to the amount necessary to accomplish the purpose of the appropriating work. Thus, for example, in Bill Graham Archives LLC v. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 386 F. Supp. 2d 324, 330 (S.D.N.Y. 2005), the court stated that “[t]his ‘inquiry must focus upon whether “the extent of . . . copying” is consistent with or more than necessary to further 'the purpose and character of the use.’ Castle Rock Enter. v. Carol Publishing Group, 150 F.3d 132, 144 (2d Cir. 1998), citing Campbell, 510 U.S. at 586-87, 114 S. Ct. 1164, 127 L. Ed.2d 500.”

I would suggest, however, that, once if it is conceded that K Cera Cera appropriates the heart of Que Sera, Sera, whether it quotes one verse, half the song, or the entire song is irrelevant as long as K Cera Cera is (1) genuinely transformative and (2) has no impact on Que Sera, Sera’s primary and derivative markets.

If in fact K Cera Cera is genuinely transformative and has no impact on Que Sera, Sera’s markets, it makes no difference to Que Sera, Sera’s copyright holders whether one verse or the entire song is appropriated. If it makes no difference, why should the amount matter?

I think too my view is confirmed by the Supreme Court in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 586 (1994)(emphasis added), in which the Court stated:

The third factor asks whether “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole,” § 107(3) (or, in Justice Story's words, “the quantity and value of the materials used,” Folsom v. Marsh, supra, at 348) are reasonable in relation to the purpose of the copying. Here, attention turns to the persuasiveness of a parodist's justification for the particular copying done, and the enquiry will harken back to the first of the statutory factors, for, as in prior cases, we recognize that the extent of permissible copying varies with the purpose and character *587 of the use. See Sony, supra, 464 U.S., at 449-450, 104 S.Ct., at 792-793 (reproduction of entire work “does not have its ordinary effect of militating against a finding of fair use” as to home videotaping of television programs); Harper & Row, supra, 471 U.S., at 564, 105 S.Ct., at 2232 (“[E]ven substantial quotations might qualify as fair use in a review of a published work or a news account of a speech” but not in a scoop of a soon-to-be-published memoir). The facts bearing on this factor will also tend to address the fourth, by revealing the degree to which the parody may serve as a market substitute for the original or potentially licensed derivatives. See Leval 1123.

Finally, I know of no case holding that a work constituted an infringement based on the appropriation of too great a portion of the copyrighted material in which that appropriation did not have an impact on the markets for the copyrighted work. Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985), and Salinger v. Random House, Inc., 811 F.2d 90 (2d Cir. 1987), are two examples of such cases. In both, the infringing use plainly hurt the copyrighted work’s primary market. In Harper & Row, The Nation published the chapter of President Ford’s autobiography that discussed his pardon of Richard Nixon. Since the public had by far more interest in that aspect of Ford’s life than any other, the publication hurt the sales of the autobiography. Why buy the book when the magazine gives you everything you’re interested in at a much lower price? In Salinger, a biography quoted long portions of J.D. Salinger’s letters. The infringement was not merely a result of the fact the excerpts from the letters far exceeded what was necessary to supporting the book’s biographical points. It was because there was an audience of Salinger fans so hungry for any new writing by Salinger (who had not published a word since 1965) that they would buy the book simply to read new Salinger. The biography, in short, was exploiting Salinger’s primary market for his own copyrighted works.

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