The Plaintiff: Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
The Case: As a result of the backlash against their album As Nasty As They Wanna Be for its alleged obscene content, Miami rappers The 2 Live Crew issued a cleaned up version titled As Clean As They Wanna Be which contained a parody of the Roy Orbison chestnut “Oh, Pretty Woman.” The group had originally asked the song’s publisher Acuff-Rose for a license but when they refused 2 Live Crew went ahead and put the song on the record anyway. Acuff-Rose subsequently sued 2 Live Crew and Luke Skyywalker Records for copyright infringement.
The Judgment: The initial ruling was in 2 Live Crew’s favor, asserting that since song was a parody it qualified as fair use. Acuff-Rose appealed the decision and it went all the way to the Supreme Court where it set legal precedent for fair use cases involving parodies though the original suit was ultimately remanded and settled out of court.