Parody? Exemption? Naah!

Wal-Mart targets parody site [pdf] (via Slashdot)

A college student was forced to redesign a Web site satirizing a foundation run by Wal-Mart after the discount retail giant claimed he violated copyright law by using graphics from the company’s Web site.

Daniel Papasian, 20, of West Hartford, Conn., said he was forced to change his Web site — — after lawyers for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sent his Web host a cease-and-desist order last week.

Wal-Mart claimed Papasian violated copyright law and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by improperly using images from the real Wal-Mart Foundation’s Web site —

[…] Papasian launched the Web site April 16 for an art class at Carnegie Mellon University called “Parasitic Media.” The class teaches students about the political uses of satire in the media. He acknowledged using Wal-Mart’s graphics on his Web site but said he believed he could use the images as part of a parody.

Papsian’s press release

“They’re trying to shut me down by going after me for copyright infringement, but I have a hard time believing that’s what they care about. They didn’t even bother to contact me to ask that anything be removed from my site. They’re not worried because my page has a similar layout or design. They’re worried because my ideas are a threat to them. They’re threatened by my belief that big corporations like Wal-Mart have too much influence on the world. Multinational corporations have won immense powers over governments with recent international trade agreements, so it’s no surprise they’re going to start going after people directly.”

Papasian is not discouraged by the cease and desist, however. He plans on documenting his experience and making it available on his site,

“I don’t want to get sued,” said Papasian. “But I won’t be silenced.”