Musical parodies do not need to mention the author of the original work, decides STJ
a few days ago the STJ published the result of a judgment promoted by the Court, which discussed the need to mention the author of the original work when making and disseminating a parody, in the light of copyright.
The Superior Court of Justice granted the Special Appeal filed by Rádio e Televisão Bandeirantes (BAND), overturning the judgment of the São Paulo Court of Justice that had sentenced the broadcaster to pay R$ 10 thousand, as moral damages, to the author of music that had a parody of his work aired on the broadcaster's program, without credit being attributed to him as the author of the original work.
The author of the work maintained before the Supreme Court the claim for damages in the allegation of plagiarism of his music, which was not accepted. The understanding of the STJ, unanimously, was in the sense that the broadcasting of parody by the broadcaster does not infringe the copyright of the original creator, since the parody must be considered as an unpublished artistic work, a new intellectual creation that results from the transformation of a work previous. Therefore, the copyright on the parody would belong to its own creator, with no mention of the author of the inspiring work, not even alleging plagiarism.
Parody is a kind of reformulation of the original work, using comic terms or puns. The “new” music is made in a funny or educational tone and, as stated in art. 47 of the Copyright Law (Law No. 9.610/98), are free, as long as it is not a mere reproduction of the original work and does not imply discredit, and there is no need for prior authorization from the author. Typically, parodies use a familiar tune assigned to a new lyric.
The parody cannot, however, be confused with the music version. The broadcasting of a music version, without prior authorization, finds an obstacle in art. 46, item I, item “a”, of the Copyright Law. In the version, few changes are made to the music, taking advantage of a good part of the original work and, therefore, it is necessary to obtain prior and express authorization from the author of the musical work.
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