Parody limitation is also applicable to works of humourus character

Thursday, 6 of June of 2019

Last 22 May 2019, the Commercial Court of Barcelona adopted a judgement in relation to the parody exceptions provided at Art. 39 Spanish Copyright. The proceedings stem from the dispute between an artist known as “Toni el Indio” (claimant) and the son/heir of the famous humourist “Eugenio” (defendant).
The claimant accused the defendant, among other illicit behaviours, of denigrating declarations amounting to unfair competitions. The denounced conduct consisted of the sending of communications (to certain clients of the claimant) where it was held that the imitations of the character “Eugenio” by the claimant involved the infringement of the copyright of the defendant.

The Court assesses the alleged infringement of the copyright held by the defendant in the context of the analysis of the exceptio veritatis put forward by him as defence against the unfair competition (denigration acts) accusations made by the claimant.

The Court’s conclusion has been anticipated in the title, there is no infringement of the exclusive rights of the defendant due to the parody limitation. According to the Court, there are not legal or doctrine obstacles preventing the application of the said limitation when the imitated creation has also comic or humorous character. And given that there is not confusion with the original work or the production of damages, the alleged exceptio veritatis is deemed excluded, with the subsequent declaration of unfair competition (denigrating acts) on the part of the defendant.