This happened this week. London-based artist Daniel Pianetti (who has worked with Hero mag and Nowness, etc.) put this photo of troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan in court on Tuesday above a Louis Vuitton logo, creating a makeshift LV advertisement. Then, the crew over at Buzzfeed added a caption to make it appear a little more ... real? The caption reads: "Some journeys have no end. Los Angeles. 9:45 a.m. LAX Courthouse," an obvious attempt to evoke LV's Journeys campaign. Now, of course, many fashion sites have been quick to label this as a parody, because that's what fashion sites do, but we are obviously not so sure.
In case you're interested, a parody is the “use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works.” (Campbell v. Acuff- Rose Music, Inc.). The Supreme Court has held that a parody may qualify as fair use, a defense to copyright infringement, if the work at issue (the parody) meets several factors. These factors include: 1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; 2. The nature of the copyrighted work; 3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. Because each of these factors must be explored and weighed on a case-by-case basis, and depending on the facts of the case, the weight of each depends on the works at issue. Moral of the story: I really doubt the sites asserting that the Lohan image is a parody did the proper analysis to make an accurate claim. So, don't always believe what you read.