Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Leo Zaibert

Second Advisor

Robert Baker




copyright, fair use, law, intellectual property


This thesis explores the question of where or not traditional copyright laws can adequately protect contemporary parodies under diverse and evolving media. Current law was examined in order to understand what the law dictates and how the law regulates, resulting in the finding of the Section 107 in The Copyright Act of 1976, which enumerates the four “fair use factors”. These “fair use factors” must be analyzed to determine whether a particular use of a copyrighted work, such as a parody, is fair use, and thus permissible under the law. Current cases involving traditional media were examined before constructing hypothetical examples in an attempt to apply the current law to ever evolving media, such as digital editing software, 3D printing, and online video data basing. Once specific cases, both hypothetical and deriving from case law, were discussed, whether an alteration of legal and societal beliefs regarding intellectual property would benefit contemporary society was examined. In a modified twin-earth scenario, a world without copyright law and world where intellectual property was protected as seriously as physical property were developed. These worlds, while actual possibilities for how copyright law in the United States could have developed, paled in comparison to how well copyright law, including fair use, balances the interests of the individual and society. It is shown that fair use in relation to copyright law is the best solution for a society which consumes intellectual property.