Dr. Seuss's estate has knocked down a website by artist/jokerman Kevin Ryan, featuring the fantasist's verses set to fake Bob Dylan music. The loss of the brilliant mash-up prompts Salon's Dan Brekke to explore how the times are a' changin' for copyright law, particularly in the murky and amorphous area of parody.
In theory, fair use should allow satirists to comment on artworks by turning them on their head. In practice, corporations are so defensive of their intellectual property and penalties for infringement are so high, most would-be parodists are cowed by a cease-and-desist notice, as was Ryan. The solution? Fund the underdogs to fight back in court, says Brekke.