CAMPBELL v. ACUFF-ROSE MUSIC

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
92-1292
Petitioner 
Campbell
Respondent 
Acuff-Rose Music
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. sued 2 Live Crew and their record company, claiming that 2 Live Crew's song "Pretty Woman" infringed Acuff-Rose's copyright in Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman." The District Court granted summary judgment for 2 Live Crew, holding that its song was a parody that made fair use of the original song. In reversing, the Court of Appeals held that the commercial nature of the parody rendered it presumptively unfair.

Question 

May 2 Live Crew's commercial parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" be a fair use within the meaning of the Copyright Act of 1976?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Campbell, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 17 U.S.C. 107

Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice David H. Souter, the Court held that a parody's commercial character is only one element to be weighed in a fair use enquiry and that insufficient consideration was given to the nature of parody in weighing the degree of copying. The Court found that the Court of Appeals erred in applying the presumption that the commercial nature of the parody rendered it presumptively unfair, as no such evidentiary presumption was available to address either the character and purpose of the use or the market harm. Justice Souter wrote that the appellate court "erred in holding that 2 Live Crew had necessarily copied excessively from the Orbison original, considering the parodic purpose of the use." Justice Anthony M. Kennedy filed a concurring opinion.

Cite this Page
CAMPBELL v. ACUFF-ROSE MUSIC. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 29 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_92_1292>.
CAMPBELL v. ACUFF-ROSE MUSIC, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_92_1292 (last visited October 29, 2014).
"CAMPBELL v. ACUFF-ROSE MUSIC," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 29, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1993/1993_92_1292.