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65 B.U. L. Rev. 923 (1985)
Satiric Appropriation and the Law of Libel, Trademark, and Copyright: Remedies without Wrongs

handle is hein.journals/bulr65 and id is 929 raw text is: SATIRIC APPROPRIATION AND THE LAW OF LIBEL,
TRADEMARK, AND COPYRIGHT: REMEDIES WITHOUT
WRONGSt
HARRIETTE K. DORSEN*
Satire is one of the oldest forms of literature. Examples are plentiful;
leading satirists include Horace, Voltaire, Rabelais, Swift, Shakespeare,
Mencken, Orwell, Woody Allen, and the writers of Mad Magazine. The
forms of satire are many: monologues, narratives, parodies, poetry, car-
toons, and fine arts. In subject and purpose, satire is diverse. Its themes
range from the gravest to the most trivial, the most austere and the most
licentious, the most sacred and the most profane, the most delicate and the
most disgusting. 1 And as Gilbert Highet wrote, satirical subjects are often
very real: [Satire] deals with actual cases, mentions real people by name or
describes them unmistakably (and often unflatteringly), talks of this moment
and this city, and this special, very recent, very fresh deposit of corruption
whose stench is still in the satirist's curling nostrils.'2 Horace stated that the
satirist wishes to tell the truth, laughing,' and Dryden commented further:
-[T]he true end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction.'4
t © 1986 by Harriette K. Dorsen
* Harriette K. Dorsen, J.D., 1966, New York University School of Law, is a
partner in the New York City law firm of Lankenau Kovner & Bickford where she
specializes in intellectual property law. She represented the defendants in the cases
of Salomone v. Macmillan and Silberman v. Georges which are discussed in this
article.
I G. HIGHET, THE ANATOMY OF SATIRE 16 (1962); see also A. BERNEL, FARCE: A
HISTORY FROM ARISTOPHANES TO WOODY ALLEN 13 (1982) (discussing the danger,
destruction, and torment of farce). Writers of farce attempt to scoff in public at
whatever their neighbors cherished in private: standing in the community, habits,
customs, affectations, eccentricities, weaknesses, virtues that are vices, friendships,
enmities, work, play, the responsibilities and constraints of belonging to a family, a
tribe, a clan, a race. Id. at 13.
2 G. HIGHET, supra note 1, at 241.
Horace, Satires (Sermonum) 1.1.24-25, quoted in G. HIGHET, supra note 1, at
141 (Telling the truth with a laugh.).
4 J. DRYDEN, Preface to Absalom and Achitophel (1681), quoted in G. HIGHET,
supra note 1, at 241. One court has noted that satire is often more truthful than
journalism, and satiric comments on values, customs and history may have more bite
than factual accounts. See Guglielmi v. Spelling-Goldberg Prods., 25 Cal. 3d 860,
868, 603 P.2d 454, 459, 160 Cal. Rptr. 352, 357 (1979) (Bird, C.J., concurring):
Indeed, Dickens and Dostoevski may well have written more trenchant and com-
prehensive commentaries on their times than any factual recitation could ever yield.

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