Fair use allows an artist to utilize copyrighted materials to create creative works for his or her own innovative purpose. The remix video “Scary Mary Poppins” is a creative piece that cuts together clips and audio from the movie Mary Poppins to create a horror trailer about the nanny from London. Protected under fair use, this video does not infringe upon copyright despite the source of its content is a copyrighted work. The video successfully falls under the terms of fair use.
The video is most definitely transformative because the nature of the video is completely distinctive from the original copyrighted work. The film Mary Poppins focuses on the visitation of a kind and magical nanny that positively changes the lives of a family. This short horror trailer cuts together certain clips from the same film to effectively create an entirely new piece. “The [original] material [has] been recontextualized and re-presented for a new purpose, and to a new audience” (Aufderheide and Jaszi 81). No longer does the material serve to convey the story of a pleasant nanny but rather the twisted story of a psychotic caretaker who goes haywire.
The reinvented storyline demonstrates a new imaginative nature of the work. Although there are those people who do, not many people find Mary Poppins to be a creepy character, but through the inventive use of clips and audio the author has successfully created a new definition for the work. The video is an “imaginative production” that conveys a unique thought through the new use of copyrighted materials (Aufderheid and Jaszi 24). This video takes on a nature of its own apart from Mary Poppins even though it extracts a small amount of clips and audio from the original work.
The amount of material from the copyrighted work in this video is miniscule in proportion to the movie in its entirety. Only one minute and seven seconds long, “the amount of material taken [is] appropriate to the purpose of the use” (Aufderheid and Jaszi 24). The video takes a tiny amount of footage and audio from the film, with most clips being only seconds long. These small clips are far from being called central to the original work. If anything these clips only give a small taste of what the original work may be, but because the use of the clips are so transformative these clips may lack the ability to even do that.
This video makes no threat of taking “market value” from the original work (Aufderheid and Jaszi 24). This video serves a completely different audience than the target audience of the original work. The original work targets families and small children with its strong sense of uplifting and whimsical storytelling. This video does not target this audience; it targets an audience that will be able to appreciate the clips and audio redefined to serve an ironic purpose when compared to the original work. A humorous horror trailer does not affect the outreach of the original full length film.
“Scary Mary Poppins” is an entertaining video on YouTube that has a life of its own. Although it derives its material from a copyrighted original work, the video is in itself an original work due to its transformative nature. The video succeeds in utilizing the four factors and answering key questions of fair use. The video falls under the protection of fair use, and therefore does not infringe upon copyright. This work has the right to be on the internet and remain there.
Aufderheide, Patricia, and Peter Jaszi. Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2011. Print.