Copyright 1996-1998, Kent M. Pitman. All Rights Reserved.
The ``Another Way Out'' series is NOT affiliated with, nor is it authorized by: The Young and the Restless, CBS-TV or Sony Pictures.
Probably it's the case that The Young and the Restless and/or Y&R are trademarks of someone, although I have to confess that I looked at the web pages for The Young and the Restless, CBS-TV and Sony Pictures and could not find a notice of that fact. If anyone else can find such notice, please let me know so I can update this paragraph accordingly. It's my non-lawyerly understanding that in order to keep a trademark, you have to religiously and prominently attach a trademark notice to your uses of it, so that others know of your intent to hold it as trademark. I have no desire to usurp or supersede any claim of ownership to these marks. However, I do suggest that if the owners of these marks really care about retaining continued ownership of their mark, they should make that fact clearer so that folks like myself who would be happy to cite the ownership can do straightforwardly.
Any trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.
The writing of parody is a legally complex area because there is no one who can bless the writer in advance and say that he will not be free of some legal hassle for having decided to write what he did. And certainly no one wants to be made fun of, so one can't just write to the person or agency being parodied and ask for their permission. I have researched this area to the best of my ability and believe the legal basis for what I'm doing is relatively sound. I cite here for reference, the reasons I have concluded this. If you have reason to believe there are other protections, or if you have reason to believe there is a flaw in my analysis, please feel free to contact me with suggestions.
Y&R has traditionally been an excellent source of entertainment; however, some viewers, myself included, feel that in recent days it has sometimes let us down through the use of tired and repetitive storylines. ``Another Way Out'' uses parody as an entertaining vehicle for constructive criticism with the goal of causing a social change; specifically, its goal is to encourage the writers and producers of the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless (Y&R) to `stay on track' with the kind of quality plotlines that originally brought the show to its #1 status.
The use of parody in general is a protected form of speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Any reference to Y&R and its characters herein is a fair use under U.S. copyright law. The four point test is answered in the following way:
Nature and Character of Use. Although I reserve the right to later publish these articles for personal profit, my motivation for writing them in the first place has not been that and I have not charged for their placement on rec.arts.tv.soaps.cbs.
Nature of the Copyrighted Work. The copyrighted work is a much-talked-about television series. It not only entertains, but routinely seems to take moral stances on various controversial topics that it covers. (Especially because of the need to take alternate points of view in this public dialog on political and moral and religious stances, it is important that works like ``Another Way Out'' find strong protection under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.)
Amount of Use. The situations I've posed are hypothetical (even moreso than the show itself). I've used Y&R's actual characters' names, but I specifically attempt to make the characters do things they wouldn't in order to make a point about the breadth of unused possibilities open to the Y&R writers. Also, to make my characters seem recognizable and believable (when my plotlines are substantially divergent from the show), the characters sometimes borrow certain `stock phrases' used (some would say `overused') by the Y&R characters. However, this is the extent of any literal use of the copyrighted material. Nearly all of the material I'm using is original. The value in this series is clearly the value that I have added; it is obvious to any target reader where the show ends and where my work begins. This is no attempt to simply copy pre-existing material and take credit for it. Indeed, if material even remotely like mine were already used on the show, there would be no point to this series!
Effect on Market and Value of Copyrighted Work. The effect can only be positive. The show gets a stream of interesting ideas, and since ideas cannot be copyrighted, they are free to borrow from them. The ``Another Way Out'' series may also offer a reason for some Y&R viewers to continue watching the show even when their interest is otherwise waning, and that benefits the show as well. Indeed, I doubt the ``Another Way Out'' series would be very interesting to anyone who wasn't a regular viewer, so it is unlikely to ``steal audience share'' in any way.
So I hope no one even tries to challenge the legality of any of this, because there is no one who doesn't benefit from the presence of these stories. I get an audience for my writings. The audience gets something that's hopefully fun to read. And Y&R gets both a bunch of good ideas they might choose to use plus a reason for viewers to hang on through what might be otherwise-boring times. Everyone should be happy. And even though I'm always poking fun at Y&R, I really hope it will be the number one soap opera for many years to come.