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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.