I examine the political value of The Wind Done Gone (2001), Alice Randall's parody of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936), according to the 2001 court case SunTrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Company. Houghton Mifflin's defense of Randall's novel from the Stephens Mitchell Trust's accusation of copyright infringement took advantage of the fair use doctrine in US copyright law, which protects the literary communication of free, political speech. While Houghton Mifflin was ultimately successful—insofar as it won a favorable verdict from a court of appeals, settled out of court, and then published Randall's novel—it misstated the political nature of parody to achieve a legal benefit. By sharpening the definition of parody to include the trope of irony, I demarcate the fine line separating African American literature's historic attacks on racial stereotypes from violations of the copyright law used to protect them.
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Gene Andrew Jarrett; Law, Parody, and the Politics of African American Literary History. Novel 1 November 2009; 42 (3): 437–442. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-2009-039
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