Inside The Twilight Parody ‘TwiHarder’ Lawsuit: A Happy Nice Time Law People Lawsplainer
Let’s get all lawsplainy up in here because what better way to spend a Wednesday, amirite? So sometimes people like to make parodies of things. And then sometimes that makes the original artists sad and mad. The most famous and hilarious version of this went all the way to the US Supreme Court, and involved 2 Live Crew’s parody of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.”
That was terrible, wasn’t it?! But it was still a legitimate parody, said your United States Supreme Court. Yay America! There’s a longish many-part test for how you determine if something is truly a parody, but a couple key reasons focus on how much of the original you’re trying to stealsies and whether your parody damages the market for the original — in other words, would someone watch/listen/buy your parody in place of the original? You probably would not skip out on Roy Orbison’s soaring masterpiece because you figured “oh, what the heck, this 2 Live Crew song about hairy big-assed women is probably same diff.”
There’s an ongoing kerfluffle about this with the Beastie Boys and toymaker GoldieBlox. GoldieBlox used a version of the Beasties’ “Girls” to sell their construction toy product. The Goldies think it is a legit parody, and the Beasties do not. Goldieblox pre-emptively sued, seeking a declaratory judgment by the court that their work was a parody, after the Beasties made some serious noise that they might not love this particular use of “Girls” quite so much. (Now Goldieblox has pulled the ad and the Beasties have sued anyway and thus goes the circle of life ever onwards.)
Why are we telling you this, besides to show off our tremendously muscular brains?? Because this is actually a fairly standard legal fight and a fairly standard legal maneuver. Copyright owners try to block parodies, parody makers go to court to stop the blocking, and America gets a really terrible version of “Pretty Woman.” Everybody wins except when we all lose, which is when the people that made Twilight and the people that want to make a Twilight parody get in a fight, and then we do not know who to root for. Is it possible to root for the earth to open up Hellmouth-style and swallow them all? We vote for that.
The Twilight versus TwiHarder (yes, that’s the name of the wannabe parody, please kill us) lawsuit would be a pretty bog-standard version of this fight except for the part where the TwiHarder people thought the best way to get the court to agree that their version was indeed a parody was to make some deeply weird and totally hilarious allegations about the original Twilight film.
[T]he suit […] alleges that the films perpetuate racial stereotypes — specifically, “one-dimensional stereotypes about Native Americans and indigenous culture through the depiction of the character Jacob Black as a ‘noble savage,’ ‘bloodthirsty warrior’ and ‘sexual predator.’” […]
As for the perversion, the lawsuit points out that the “Twilight” films center “around the lustful and eventual sexual relationship between a 17-year-old girl, Bella Swan, and a male character, Edward Cullen, who is nearly 100 years her senior.”
What better way to convince the court to let you make your crappy movie parody than alleging that the movie you want to parody is a racist perverted nightmare of a film? Smells like success to us!
Best of luck to you, you crazy TwiHarder kids. The world needs a near-infinite amount of Scary Not Another Teen Date Movies because they’re really the best thing we have to offer right now, because it’s either this or the Gilligan’s Island movie.