Although the unauthorized use of sound recordings in derivative collage compositions may in some instances infringe on the copyright of a given composition or sound recording, such use may be protected under a fair use analysis typically accorded works of parody. Therefore this Comment will first provide some historical context for understanding aural appropriation as an evolving 20th century art form with parallels and antecedents in the visual arts. Next comes a discussion of how certain collage-based compositions may violate applicable copyright laws under the 1976 Copyright Act. This Comment will then explore whether the appropriation of pre-existing sound recordings may be justified under existing interpretations of fair use as defined in §107 of the 1976 Act. In particular, I will focus on the defense of fair use as it has historically been applied to works of parody, with an emphasis on two recent cases (Eveready Battery Co. v. Adolph Coors Co. and Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. v. Campbell) which appear to extend the parameters of the parody defense. After evaluating existing limitations in applying a fair use analysis to works of aural collage, this Comment will present some final observations, including suggestions offered by various commentators to protect the interests of copyright owners while simultaneously affording protection to collage composers.
Renaming that Tune: Aural Collage, Parody and Fair Use, 22 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.