In the quest to create a hit video for marketing purposes, many companies decide to parody a popular or well-known bit of media to catch the attention of viewers with short attention spans. However, using the name, images, or likenesses of a competitor or individual could get you into big trouble. It’s important to understand how to create an effective and legal parody video before you invest in recording and editing.
The Right Tone
A video showing your competitor’s logo with negative narration over it won’t qualify as a parody. Humour, sarcasm and commentary are all important aspects of parody. You don’t have to make jokes that everyone finds funny, but there does need to be some clear attempt at humour in the clip. Your right to use copyrighted material is only protected when you create commentary around it with mockery. If you don’t maintain that kind of tone, your material could be considered a misrepresentation of the truth.
That humorous focus is also crucial when it comes to fair use. Copyright law protects the creations of your competitors, but you still have a right to use them for parody videos. The power of the First Amendment overrides these protections when you are creating a joke around a specific cultural icon or company. However, it is still best to use variations on the logo and name of another establishment rather than copy them directly, to avoid disputes. Mocking Youtube by calling it BooTube will ensure your company won’t come under fire for using trademarked materials, without completely losing the interest of your audience.
Use a Disclaimer
If you want to avoid any confusion, add a quick disclaimer to the beginning of the video to make your intentions of parody very clear. You can also add a notification about your humour in the text description below the clip. It is best to consult with your company’s legal team or lawyer before you use any legal terms in your disclaimer. Your expert can quickly write a disclaimer tailored to your company’s video marketing efforts that will keep you out of hot water.
Parody requires a good sense of humour. If you are creating video for marketing purposes, you will need to have a strong sense of what you want to accomplish before using humour in your content. A parody can bring in a lot of new attention, but only if it is genuinely funny.