Pissing Off A Movie Critic By Claiming Copyright Over A Video Review... Probably Not Smart
from the just-saying dept
So, apparently after a bunch of people asked, Walker did one of his video reviews of the movie. While it got taken down, others have put it back online. Here's the first part:
As you'll notice, in the review, he uses lots of clips from the movie itself, which he talks over and discusses (warning: it's long, and both the movie and the review get... cringeworthy often). Not surprisingly, he does mock the movie quite a lot. Apparently, Tommy Wiseau then issued a takedown. Here, the details are a bit fuzzy as the only "explanation" is that the Walker then made another video mocking Wiseau for claiming copyright infringement, but without providing details:
In that video (you have to get to about a minute and a half in before it gets to this point), Walker claims that his review was clearly fair use because it's a review, and also covered by the "satire/parody clause." He then goes on to mock the person who emailed him, who apparently was Wiseau himself using an alter ego.
Honestly, looking over the details that are available, I have two thoughts: the first is that this is not a clear cut case of fair use, as Walker suggests (even if it should be). The second, is that even if it's not fair use, Wiseau probably shouldn't have made the copyright claim... though, one could argue that it'll only act as greater publicity for his movie.
On that first one. Just saying it's a "review" doesn't automatically give you fair use rights. And there's no fair use for "satire," only parody -- and it's not clear that the review is actually a parody (or, for that matter, satire). Going through the four factors for fair use... you could make an argument either way as to whether or not it currently is fair use. It would really depend on the judge, and I'd actually guess that the sheer amount of the movie that is used would probably tilt the scales against fair use.
That said, I think this should be fair use, but it's not really clear that it is. Even so, this seems like the kind of thing that movie makers are better off embracing, rather than fighting. All the takedown has done is angered a whole bunch of people. Of course, you could argue that perhaps Wiseau is embracing the "this is such a bad movie, it's good" concept to such an extreme that he thinks the takedown will actually drive more business to the movie -- which might actually be a possibility. Whether by accident or by plan, this kind of takedown, might actually be a strategic use of The Streisand Effect to get his own movie more attention.