The Daily Show and Fair Use

Although he has recently left The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is one of the most popular satirical comedians of this generation.  The Daily Show was so popular because he mocked politicians and politics, while also exposing correct and accurate information.  Stewart and his staff of correspondents used video clips, pictures, articles, etc. to discuss and make fun of politics.  His show thrived on the idea of Fair Use.

Fair Use is an exception to Copyright in the United States.  Fair Use states that an outside party is allowed to use someone’s copyrighted material if their goal is to teach, report, parody or critique.  This video uses clips from Disney movies to teach the general public about the terms of Fair Use.

So, how exactly does Jon Stewart use Fair Use to his advantage?  Stewart mainly uses video clips in his segments.  He commonly uses clips from media outlets, specifically FOX News and CNN.  He also takes segments from hearings and debates within the Senate and House of Representatives and uses them on his show.  In this clip from 2014, he uses both to mock the impact politics can have on climate change, as well as the media’s coverage.

Jon Stewart took full advantage of Fair Use during this clip and during his time on The Daily Show.  He was a pioneer for political satire.  Although Jon Stewart has left The Daily Show, his influence still remains.  The Daily Show influenced multiple people who have had successful shows with the same format: Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), Larry Wilmore (The Nightly Show), John Oliver (Last Week Tonight).  The Daily Show is now hosted by Trevor Noah and will be very similar to The Daily Show when it was hosted by Jon Stewart.

His comments, actions, and body language expose politicians through satire.  His sarcastic wit and tone and his freedom to use video clips from outside sources are what made The Daily Show successful for so many years.  Fair Use allowed Jon Stewart this freedom to create one of the wittiest and funniest shows on television.  Let me know what you think about the terms of Fair Use and Jon Stewart’s knack for this satire in the comments, but for now, just watch and enjoy.



  1. augustmw · October 6, 2015

    I agree with you praising of Jon Stewart, he carries his use of Fair Use far outside of his show and is a strong supporter of limited copyrighting. I also like how you opened up the post with a brief explanation that is clear enough to explain Fair Use to someone that has never heard of it. I am in high hopes that Jon Stewart will come out of “retirement”, even if it is just to write for another show.


  2. jackthethird · October 6, 2015

    Jon Stewart is easily one of the most gifted manipulators of fair use I have ever had the pleasure of watching and will truly miss him on the Daily Show. I really enjoy how you discussed how Jon Stewart and his use of fair use influenced other popular and gifted entertainers.


  3. dwilson2811 · October 6, 2015

    As I think most people will agree, ‘The Daily Show’ is a very interesting show to say the least. It would be a very sad day if it had never existed because Fair Use was not ever around. This being said, I am glad there is Fair Use but I am of the opinion that if you create it to share with the world then you shouldn’t make it inaccessible to the world. That is just my opinion though and I know that it won’t be that way for quite awhile.


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