Parody, Satire and Jokes

4 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013

Date Written: September 26, 2013


This paper examines the concepts of parody, satire, and jokes under the fair use doctrine.

Parody, Satire, Jokes. These three very different and distinct concepts are most frequently confused by clients. Here is a simple way to clarify these distinct concepts. A parody is an imitation of a work, that comments directly on that work, and therefore is permitted to take quite a bit from that work which is the subject of the comment. A satire, however, comments on some broad aspect of society. Often, a satire is evaluated liberally under the fair use doctrine. Neither one has anything to do with humor. Conversely, a joke is all about the humor. A joke’s purpose is to get a laugh. It is a joke which gets no special break under copyright law.

Keywords: parody, satire, jokes, fair use

Suggested Citation

Donaldson, Michael, Parody, Satire and Jokes (September 26, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Michael Donaldson (Contact Author)

Donaldson & Callif ( email )

400 South Beverly Drive Suite 400
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
United States

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