Parody as an exception to copyright infringement

The case upon which the advocate-general delivered his opinion concerns Johan Deckmyn of the right-wing Vlaams Belang political party. Deckmyn distributed a calendar including an image adapted from a comic book entitled ‘De Wilde Weldoener’. In Deckmyn’s version, the mayor of Ghent is shown showering coins on immigrants. The rights holders in the original work instituted copyright proceedings in the Belgian court. Before the Brussels Court of Appeal, Deckmyn argued that the image should fall within the Belgian exception for parody, caricature and pastiche. The Belgian law reflects article 5(3)(k) of the Information Society Directive, which allows member states to introduce an exception to the reproduction right and the right of communication to the public for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche.

The Court of Appeal referred a number of questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union…

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