Remember the book, “Goodnight Moon?” Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd in 1947, this book has become a bedtime classic for parents and children alike. It seems that the book has grown up… now known as “Goodnight Bush.” Or has it?

Actually, this new book is somewhat of a parody on the 1947 classic. Sure they share the same cover color scheme, and you may notice that there is similar language. After that though, the books prove to be two different pieces of literature. Clever tactic though to get people interested in this book isn’t it? “ I thought it was brilliant,” said Mr. Shandler (Little, Brown editor in chief), whose company also published the parody “Yiddish With Dick and Jane.”

This strategy may not be as smart as one would think. For example, as the article states, the parody, “Yiddish With Dick and Jane,” brought about questions and a lawsuit regarding trademark and copyright infringement. This parody-based book became quite popular and has even landed a space on youtube:

The author of this new book, “Goodnight Bush,” is hoping that the “fair use”  doctrine, will keep controversy at bay.

The publisher of “Goodnight Bush” is counting on the fair use doctrine, which allows limited amounts of copyrighted material to be used without permission. “Parody as fair use is a developing area of the law,” said Pamela Golinski, an entertainment lawyer in New York, “and as a result, whether a given parody merits the shield of the fair use doctrine is a complex question.”

Does it seem right that to some extent, some material may be reproduced to create a different version- thus creating a new book? It would seem hard to believe that a children’s classic bedtime story could be turned into a piece of literature with characters such as Osama bin Laden and George Bush filling the pages. Although such copyright and trademark questions have arisen before, we should be asking ourselves at what point do we use clever marketing strategies to promote books. Does “Goodnight Bush” cross the line? Should clearly adult books be allowed to parody children’s books?

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