Big Bird and Fair Use: What’s allowed?

One of the great memes of this 2012 election has been Big Bird, prompted by a comment by Republican candidate Mitt Romney about funding for PBS in the first presidential debate. After President Barack Obama used Big Bird in a campaign ad, we got a lot of questions about copyright law and fair use. Can a candidate use a character like Big Bird? Below, SPLC Attorney Adam Goldstein explains what the law allows:

For more on fair use, check out this legal analysis in the latest edition of the Report, SPLC’s thrice-yearly magazine. Attorney Carolyn Schurr Levin explains what is — and isn’t — allowed under the law.