Under EU Law, Parody / Pastiche Satire is not Copyright Violation [Thread Locked. What a Surprise!]

I’ve just had a series of seven designs I uploaded all rejected for “Copyright”. The designs are all spoofs on the current UK Government’s much-derided “Get Ready For Brexit” poster campaign.

I really wish Spreadshirt would employ some people who actually understand the law. European Law specifically allows for artwork created as a parody, pastiche or satire and all of these designs were completely created from scratch by me, in the style of the official UK government ones.

The Brussels Court of Appeal asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for guidance in relation to a dispute over whether a derivative work of a well-known Belgian cartoon constituted copyright infringement or was protected under the parody exception ( Deckmyn v Vandersteen C-201/13; see News brief “Defining parody: getting the joke ). The ECJ held that the essential characteristics of parody, which is to be interpreted as an autonomous EU concept, are that it: evokes an existing work, while being noticeably different from it; and constitutes an expression of humour or mockery.

The ECJ noted that, unlike works that have been copied for the purpose of criticism and review, the parody need not relate to the original work or mention the source of the parodied work. The parody also need not display an original character of its own, nor reasonably be attributed to a person other than the original author. The ECJ added that national courts should apply the parody exception in a way that strikes a fair balance between the interests and rights of copyright holders of the original works, and the freedom of expression of users of copyrighted works.

Several times now, over the years, I’ve run into this problem where Spreadshirt bans something for copyright violation where I have created a design from scratch which obviously parodies / satirises / is a pastiche of something else.

Spreadshirt really needs to decide whether their European operation is a European company subject to European law, or merely another domain name extension for their US operation as, at the minute, it seems they’re applying US laws to European designers creating designs to sell in Europe, where the right to parody is protected in law.


@Rico_Spreadshirt: I don’t bother pursuing these things any more. Been there done that in the past. It’s a complete waste of time. All I’ll get is a copy/paste response with Spreadshirt’s T&C in it. So I’ll just move along and get on with creating my next designs.

I’ve stated my viewpoint and even quoted a judgement by the European Court of Justice on the subject which backs up that viewpoint. “The truth is out there” as they say.

@Lena_Spreadshop Nice contribution to the discussion. Thanks.

Ahoy @madra,

if you want to know the reason for rejection please contact our colleagues at legal@spreadshirt.net.
Explain your question and give some information to make sure to get an answer that satisfies you.