The Netherlands: Darfurnica, Miffy and the right to parody!
The legal community of the Netherlands let out a sigh of relief in May 2011 when the judgment of the District Court of The Hague in preliminary proceedings was handed down in the Darfurnica case.The same feeling of satisfaction prevailed, more recently, when the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam rendered decision in the Miffy case. Both decisions, rendered on appeal, overruled the judgments of first instance, which had given precedence to the protection of intellectual property rights above the user’s freedom of expression in the form of parody. But freedom of expression, and parody in particular, are solidly anchored in the Dutch values and courts more often than not find in favour of the parodist. Apart from the fact that both decisions offer an interesting analysis of where the limit lies between intellectual property protection and artistic freedom, each decision deserves a few words of commentary in view of some noteworthy particularities.