Keeling v. Hars, No. 13-694-cv (2d Cir. Oct. 30, 2015).
When a parody makes fair use of its source material, is the parody itself protected by copyright? That’s the question the Second Circuit answers in a case involving Point Break Live!, a stage parody of the Gary Busey vehicle Point Break.
Fair use is a defense that a parody may invoke to escape a charge of copyright infringement. But can the author of a parody invoke fair use to claim copyright protection against a third party? Yes, the Second Circuit answers, relying on the language of the Copyright Act. As long as the parody really does constitute fair use—and here the parties agree that Point Break Live! constitutes fair use—it is protected by copyright and can be infringed by a third party. So the court affirms a $250,000 jury verdict in favor of the author of Point Break Live!