I decided to do my remix post on the Honest Trailers YouTube channel. The creators of the channel take a movie or series of movies and give an “honest” spin on the trailer. This usually ends up in something funny and definitely a more realistic look at a movie. I included their version of a Lord of the Rings trailer because I feel like it gives a good example of this…and because I love Lord of the Rings and find their trailer for it pretty funny.
Now as far as whether this qualifies as transformative use and falls under fair use, the article listed four different statutory factors that help answer this question. The first category was purpose and character of the use. The article listed a few purposes that are often connected with fair use and one of those purposes includes criticism and commentary. Honest Trailers would definitely fall under the criticism and commentary category, meaning it’s passed the first statutory for being considered fair use. The next statutory to take into consideration is the nature of the original work and whether it’s been published or not. Lord of the Rings has obviously been published before, which means Honest Trailers are still on track to qualify as fair use. Another factor that the article says to consider is whether or not the original work is more factual or more creative. Now this is kind of tricky to decide. I guess technically a movie is a creative effort, but at the same time the movie considers itself to be a factual account of the main characters so there’s a definite grey area here.
The third area to consider is the amount and substantiality of the portion used. Considering the Lord of the Rings trilogy is about 12 hours long in total if you consider all of the extended cuts, Honest Trailers only borrowed about 4 minutes of those 12 hours which would mean it leans more towards fair use. As far as substantiality is concerned, Honest Trailers isn’t using anything I would consider the “heart” of the source material. They haven’t taken anything that wasn’t already in any of the original trailers for the three movies, so it still leans toward fair use. Now for the last statutory, effects of the use on the potential market for or value of the source work. I could be slightly biased when analyzing this statutory, but I don’t believe Honest Trailers has hurt the market of Lord of the Rings at all. The fanbase is already so established that any sorts of parodies wouldn’t do it any potential damage from a monetary standpoint. Now onto whether or not this is qualified as transformative use. According to the article the answer is definitely yes. Parodies are considered to be transformative because it is using the source material as a way to criticize and provide a commentary. Not only that, but it’s using the source work in a new and unexpected way.