The first episode of the new series of the Great British Bake Off started last week. To promote this, the sixth series, the BBC created a short 30-second advert, depicting the show’s hosts singing in a field along with the music of the 1960s film classic The Sound of Music -- but with different lyrics.
In the original song, Julie Andrews sings:
“The hills are alive with the sound of music,In the Bake Off advert, these were replaced with
With songs they have sung for a thousand years.
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music.
My ear wants to sing every song it hears”.
“The hills are alive with the smell of baking,The advert has a number of similarities to the original video: it was also filmed on hills, uses the same music and has similar lyrics. The original song dates from 1965 and is still protected by copyright. The copyright owners in the Rodgers and Hammerstein song, unhappy with the advert, objected that no licence was granted for the use of the music.
With cakes that we baked for a thousand years.
The hills fill my heart with a love of baking.
I just want to taste every cake that I baked.”
Baker Cat, here
Unauthorised use of a copyright protected work amounts to infringement, unless it falls under an exception. The UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 section 16 lists the acts restricted by copyright. Among those listed, and applicable here, are the performance, showing or playing the work in public, communicating the work to the public and making an adaptation of the work. Until a year ago, every parody risked being held to infringe, but the CDPA’s new section 30A(1), which came into force on 1 October 2014, allows fair dealing of a work protected by copyright if it is for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche [see here and here for relevant Katposts].
Would the BBC’s adaptation of the work fall to be permitted under this new provision [in other words: would BBC's use be considered a fair dealing with the original work]? While the words were parodied, the music was not – but the power of the parody comes from the combination of the new words with the music with which the original words are so closely associated [as the Court of Justice of the European Union held (para 20) in Deckmyn - on which see Katposts here - "the essential characteristics of parody are, first, to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it, and, secondly, to constitute an expression of humour or mockery"].
In any event the BBC stopped playing the trailer. The organisation denied that they had withdrawn it in response to the publishers’ complaints, adding that the trailer only had a planned three-week run, which had now finished. They also said that there had been no infringement of copyright, as they were relying on the fair dealing provisions.
Great British Bakers here, here and here.
Sound of Music parodies here Sound of Music in 6 minutes here
Katpat to Chris Torrero for the lead ...