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  • An Avatar’s Parody: Considering a First Amendment Right to Parody Real World Trademarks in a Three-Dimensional Virtual World

    Parody is a social and literary criticism that has significant value as free speech under the First Amendment. For trademark purposes, the First Amendment protects parodies of marks against trademark law, provided that the parody is successful. A successful parody “must convey two simultaneous—and contradictory—messages: that it is the original, but also that it is not the original and is instead a parody.” In addition to the second requirement, the parody must “communicate some articulable element of satire, ridicule, joking, or amusement.” A successful parody minimizes potential liability under trademark law because consumers are less likely to be confused as to the source of the mark being parodied. Where a parody is effectively conveyed, reducing the likelihood of consumer confusion, United States courts have held parodies of trademarks are protected under the First Amendment.