Rules and Problem

Check back soon for an updated 2019 Competition Rulebook. 

2018 Problem Clarifications:
Posted February 10, 2018 

Question 1: "Our team was wondering if we could get further clarification about the content of Fourth Melody’s song. The record contains one line from the song, but it is not clear how representative of the rest of the lyrics it is. The factual recitation says the song “include[s]” the line and the district court says Klari contends the song “only had one line directly criticizing” the original, but that does not necessarily mean it actually is the only line directly criticizing the original. While the district court noted that it is improper to simply count the number of lines, if this is indeed the only line of commentary, then knowing how many times it repeats or how many other verses there are or how long the song is relative to the single line would be incredibly helpful for both sides to determine the proper context for the quoted line. Rather than counting lines, this is more a point of figuring out proper context."

Clarification 1: The only line of direct commentary is the phrase quoted in the problem and is the last line of the "bridge" before the final chorus. There are lyrics throughout Fourth Melody’s song, and it is structured like a typical pop song. Thematically, the song is about feminism and protest against societal oppression, consistent with Fourth Melody's stated goals.

Question 2: We received various general questions about the specific sections that are required in competitor's briefs.

Clarification 2: The only required sections are those enumerated in the Rulebook. Nevertheless, competitors should feel free to incorporate whatever sections they believe will most effectively convey their arguments.

Question 3: "In Question 2, the question asks whether Petitioner's song was "sufficiently transformative to qualify as a parody."  But I believe the question was presented incorrectly because a work's level of being transformative does not factor into whether a work qualifies as a parody.  Instead, whether a work is a parody, informs a court's decision on whether the work is transformative for the purposes of factor 1 in the fair use analysis.... To sum it up, I think we need clarification on whether you just want the briefs and arguments to address: 1) Whether "Bought It" is a parody or 2)Whether "Bought It" is transformative under factor 1, thus weighing in favor of fair use.

Clarification 3We are not at liberty to comment on substantive arguments. Various internally cited sources may help competitors better understand how parody fits into the fair use analysis.

Thank you for your questions!