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Monday, 29 December 2003


There’s a storm brewing in Canada. The IPKat learns (via boingboing) that the writers of, a site parodying Paul Martin, the Canadian Liberal prime ministerial candidate, have been threatened with legal action by the webmaster of The people behind the official site, while acknowledging the parodists’ free speech rights, have said that the parodists have gone too far because, in basing the design of their site on the official site, they have appropriated Paul Martin’s copyright-protected art work, graphics and the style sheet. They have told that its writers are free to express their opinions but this freedom does not stretch to the right to invade other peoples’ property rights. The parodists were told to make the necessary changes by 5pm on 24 December or face legal action.

The IPKat notes that the appearance of the two sites is very similar, but the parody would not work nearly as well if they weren’t. He thinks that free speech will sometimes justify encroaching on the property rights of others. It’s not just important to get the content of the message across, but also to bring it to the public’s attention. This may be achieved more effectively by a parody of the object of the parody’s style, even if this means allowing the parodist to copy copyright-protected code that lies behind the way a website looks.

Learn more about Canadian politics here
Other parodies here and here

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