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Hitler Virals’ Downfall Sees Film Owner At Odds With Remixers

It’s a mark of how off the planet some web geeks are that they begrudge a content owner the right to do with its creation what it wishes. But the general response, to news that YouTube is removing parodies based on a now-infamous clip from the movie Downfall, is verging on as heated as the outrage expressed by Hitler himself in the scene.

The clip, in which Hitler realises the war is lost, has been augmented with dozens of alternate subtitles in the last couple of years – from “Hitler gets banned from Xbox Live” to “Hitler Finds Out Sarah Palin Resigns” – and is one of the most notable examples of the web’s remix culture.

But Downfall‘s Frankfurt-based distributor Constantin Films asked YouTube to remove many clips on breach of copyright, vanishing several of the parody works.
Constantin’s head of film Martin Moszkowicz tells BBC News: “The parodies have caused some issues. We as a corporation have a bit of an ambivalent view of it. On the one hand we are proud the picture has such a huge fanbase and that people are using it for parody. On the other hand we are trying to protect the artists.”

The only problem with that – Constantin’s takedown seems at odds with Downfall‘s director Oliver Hirschbiegel, who told New York magazine in January: “I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like.” He’s not a total parody fan, though: “If only I got royalties for it, then I’d be even happier.”

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) told us: “We don’t comment on individual videos or removals.” Constantin hasn’t yet responded to emails asking it to clarify reasons for the takedown.

Hitler, as “Downfall producer” orders a DMCA takedown from Brad Templeton on Vimeo.

5 Responses to “Hitler Virals’ Downfall Sees Film Owner At Odds With Remixers”

  1. No. This last parody is a response to the take-downs, and is a very clear-cut “fair use” of the clip. Defending a “fair use” claim costs too much money for most; but still the issue you overlook is the DMCA abuse by Constantin Films, not to mention a very bad PR move. I can only conclude that Robert Andrews at paidcontent.co.uk doesn’t understand “DMCA abuse” or “fair use.” He shouldn’t feel bad; most Americans don’t either. What he should avoid is comments like “It’s a mark of how off the planet some web geeks are that they begrudge a content owner the right to do with its creation what it wishes”

  2. commenter 2

    Why dont content owners work out a way of monetising their archive content? Its got massive potential in the mashup arena.
    Think about movie re-edits, maybe slowed down a bit in places, maybe spliced with something else, put to mozart maybe, or some punk music. THEN RELAUNCH IT.

    A great way to get money for old stuff.

  3. philip bird

    The fact that youtube has sucessfully blocked the parodies makes the story “right” the free lunch is over, get your credit card out to pay for your next meal

  4. commenter

    ‘It’s a mark of how off the planet some web geeks are that they begrudge a content owner the right to do with its creation what it wishes.’

    They don’t have that right. Parody is fair use. This isn’t copyright infringement. This is so clear from a) law b) web discussion I’m mystified why this story takes the line it does.

    It this why this site is called ‘paidContent’? ;)

    They also look like asses by doing this.