Skip to Main Content

Bruin Success with Less Stress

6. Copyright: You as Consumer

As a consumer, you basically cannot legally do the following if you do not own the copyright on a work:

  1. Copy the work. This means online media too, like images, music, etc.
  2. Create derivative work or collect money from derivative work.
  3. Distribute copies of the work. This means, for example, you can't burn a bunch of CDs and sell them or give them away.
  4. Perform someone else's original work in public without getting permission and/or paying a royalty. Unless you want to pay to perform something, it's safer to stick with your own original material.
  5. Display the work in public.

(17 USC 106, 2002)

But what about...

Weird Al?

Weird AlWeird Al Yankovic released a song that sounds a lot like Eminem's "Lose Yourself." In fact, he's recorded tons of songs that are based on huge Billboard hits. Why isn't he constantly in court?

Basically, parody is an exception and is acceptable. Plus, Weird Al asks for permission first anyway. According to the Official Weird Al site (as of 2003), "Al does get permission from the original writers of the songs that he parodies. While the law supports his ability to parody without permission, he feels it's important to maintain the relationships that he's built with artists and writers over the years."

(" 'Weird Al' Yankovic")