Hitler gets reprieve

Downfall, a flick about Hitler’s bunker, is back in use on Youtube as an amusing piss-take of practically anything.

This week YouTube pulled multiple versions of the parody, which involves tinkering with the subtitles for comic effect. YouTube said it had been approached by the film-makers, Constantin Film, who claimed the parodies infringed its copyright.

While the defence for running such content in the US is “satire” and “fair use”, such an argument does not necessarily work in Europe which does not have constitutional rights of free speech.

Now YouTube has advised its users to fight back against attempts to remove the immensely popular clips from the site.

Earlier this week several of the parodies, created by adding fake subtitles to Hitler’s famous rant scene in the 2004 German film, vanished from YouTube. The production company, Constantin Film, argued they infringed its copyright.

The most recent parody is Hitler’s supposed reaction to Constantin’s decision to remove parodies.

In order to remove the clips, Constantin is using Content ID, a tool supplied by YouTube to enable them to set different policies depending on the proportion of their content used in a video or the length of the clip.

Ironically, the Downfall takedowns took place on what would have been Hitler’s 121st birthday.

YouTube product manager Shenaz Zack pointed out that YouTube had made it easier for users to dispute inappropriate Content ID claims.  He advised people to say that the video was fair use, and check the box that reads ‘This video uses copyrighted material in a manner that does not require approval of the copyright holder’.

Once the dispute is filed the video immediately goes back up on YouTube.

This would mean that  Constantin woud have to file a formal Digital Millennium Copyright Act notification

The director of the Downfall film, Oliver Hirschbiegel, has been quoted saying that he found the clips “so funny” and that “you couldn’t get a better compliment as a director”.