Too Many Cooks and Copyright Law

This past weekend, the internet found a new obsession in the 11-minute video from Adult Swim, Too Many Cooks. This surreal walk down memory lane starts as a spoof of a typical 80s sitcom…and then proceeds to send up almost every genre of 80s TV you can think of while simultaneously getting creepier and creepier. Everyone from Gawker to Buzzfeed to Grantland has weighed in on the video. It’s the newest viral hit on the internet and you’ll know it’s past its prime once your mom posts it to your Facebook wall.

While Too Many Cooks doesn’t specifically reference one TV show, it definitely makes pointed allusions to shows like Rosanne, Dallas, Falcon Crest, T.J. Hooker, Alf, Married with Children…the list goes on and on. So how can it get away with referring to all of these different shows? Surely there must be some copyright issues. Turns out, we here at the Georgetown Law Library can help you find out the answer to that question, along with other questions about copyright and fair use. We have a research guide on copyright as well as a treatise finder devoted to the best treatises regarding intellectual property law (several of which are dedicated solely to copyright). A search for copyright, parody, and fair use within our catalog also turns up many helpful works, including several articles.

Whether you’re up at 4am watching Adult Swim and wondering how they can get away with the things they do, or you’re the recipient of an email from a friend telling you about the latest internet craze, we’re here to help you find the answers to those pesky legal questions that might otherwise keep you from enjoying the latest bizarre video sensation.

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