A class of 2015 presidential candidate ignited a battle with the EVVY Awards producers last week when he began posting campaign fliers around campus that parodied the award show’s design.
Nick de la Canal said he was pinning up the posters, which depict the freshman class presidential hopeful posing as the model in the EVVY Awards’ marketing fliers, when the show’s executive producer Natalie Casper approached him.
“She said I wasn’t allowed to hang the posters because it was copyright infringement,” the freshman journalism major said. “I told her I would look into it, and talked to one of my professors. We determined that the poster was in no violation of copyright because it is a parody.”
Under fair use in the United States copyright law, parodies are an exception to the protections of copyright because they are a limited use of the original material.
De la Canal said after researching the clause, he sent a Facebook message to Casper, but never heard from her. About an hour after sending the message, de la Canal said he was contacted by Student Life and the Student Government Association elections commissioner, Kassandra King.
According to de la Canal, King told him she had received a complaint and he had to take down the posters by Sunday at noon or appeal to Sharon Duffy, the associate dean of students, to have them re-approved. Concerned that it appeared as if the EVVYs was endorsing his campaign, de la Canal said he planned to put a sticker on each poster stating the EVVYs was not affiliated with the image.
De la Canal said he sent Casper an email describing the sticker compromise on Saturday.
“I was busy all day Sunday. Then, I heard from a friend that some of the EVVYs parody posters went missing. I went around and it looked like they had been taken down by someone on Sunday,” de la Canal said.
Casper declined to comment, but said in an email that no one on the EVVYs staff took down the posters or was asked to do so.
“I’m not sure where the posters are now, and I don’t know who took them down,” the freshman candidate, de la Canal said. “I don’t plan to make a big deal out of this, but I would like my five bucks back.”
SGA Vice President Caitlin Higgins said she de la Canal contacted her when he was initially concerned about the posters.
“I can see why the EVVYs would be upset with someone taking their design, but they were done in parody and approved. There shouldn’t have been an issue with it,” Higgins said. “I saw them and thought they were funny.”
Higgins said she does not know who took the posters down and has never heard of an instance where approved posters had to be removed. She said she does not think the missing posters will have an effect on the freshman’s campaign.
“He was advertising through more than those posters, but it’s interesting that he decided to stand up for his posters,” she said. “I think it speaks to his qualifications for the position.”