Porn parodies occupy an interesting space in the United States regarding copyright. While fandom is overtly familiar with the careful way fanfilms are made, porn parodies face a different treatment.
However, Brain’s films – including a Star Wars parody that generated not a word of complaint from Lucasfilm (Stuart 2013) – demonstrate that ’celebrating the story the way it is’ and skirting intellectual property laws by selling the work for profit is possible under the protective umbrella of parody.Dru Jeffries (2016): This looks like a blowjob for Superman: servicing fanboys with superhero porn parodies, Porn Studies, DOI: 10.1080/23268743.2016.1196118 p3
Stuart, Tessa (2013): ’When Fanfic Becomes Porn.’ Buzzfeed, June 7. https://www.buzzfeed.com/tessastuart/when-fanfic-becomes-porn
The line here that this law draws between parody and a non-parody work is even more interesting when comparing two movies that both contain explicit sex scenes.
Ultimately, the only salient differences between Fifty Shades of Grey: A XXX Adaptation and Braun’s parodies lie in their self-categorization – adaptation vs. parody – and the status of sex in the original narrative: since Fifty Shades already has explicit sex in the original novel, hardcore representations thereof in the pornographic version do not represent a parodic addition.
Dru Jeffries (2016): This looks like a blowjob for Superman: servicing fanboys with superhero porn parodies, Porn Studies, DOI: 10.1080/23268743.2016.1196118 p7
While pornographic fanfilms are not known yet, fanworks representing explicit sex are common. Prose, visual art, and of course so-called podfics (audonarratives). The latter feels especially relevant to the comparison. As Olivia Riley Johnston points out,
the body does not disappear in digital fan works but instead remains salient, especially in podfic. In podfic, the voice pointedly reminds listeners of the bodies and identities behind the creation of fan works posted online.
Riley, Olivia Johnston. 2020. “Podfic: Queer Structures of Sound.” Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 34. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2020.1933.
There is a clear difference, though, in the production of these movies and fanworks as podfics operate within the framework of gift economy, while parody creators such as Braun have a different relationship with copyright,they still have to produce for the market economy. These different economic circumstances shape the entire process of creation of these artworks as there isn’t an employer-employee relationship between any of these creators. Their relationship might be more adequately described as gift giver and gift recipient because the fanfictions are gifts from the author to the community, including the podficcer, and the podfic recording is a gift from the podficcer to the community, including the author.
Reciprocation of these gifts may take a number of forms, both tangible (other art objects, feedback for the creator) and intangible (attention, recognition, status).
Turk, Tisha. 2014. “Fan Work: Labor, Worth, and Participation in Fandom’s Gift Economy.” In “Fandom and/as Labor,” edited by Mel Stanfill and Megan Condis, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 15. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2014.0518.
What do you think these copyright laws say about how a certain country sees parody, adaptation and fanfiction?