Parodies with the famous Hitler-map scene from the film Downfall, are being taken down from YouTube, reports PCWorld. Is the death of a web meme? Constantin Film, the production company behind the Oscar-nominated 2004 Downfall, is now facing the fire of public dismay, as the wildly popular clip has been remade into countless parodies and don’t violate any copyright laws.
As more people have seen the well-known clip than the actual film from which it came from, it’s a wonder that Constantin Film even wants to have the YouTube videos taken down. Per the Cease & Desist terms of the video-sharing site, the owner of copyrighted content can request to have even parodies removed. So why, nearly 6 years after Downfall was first released, is Constantin Film making such a drastic move?
Turns out, the film company had requested that the parodies be taken down when the clips first began cropping up across the Internet. Despite the director himself finding some of the parodies quite funny, Constantin Film has faced a good deal of negative press from the parodies. It looks like being a web sensation isn’t all roses.
With some parodies taking extreme liberties with the famous Hitler clip, using the scene for purposes that can be considered derogatory by others. According to Hollywood Reporter, Constantin Films have at times “been asked to take certain ones down — by companies whose products have been ridiculed or from Jewish associations who were offended by certain Neo-Nazi parodies using ‘Downfall’ footage,” Martin Moszkowicz, Constantin’s head of film production told THR. ”
But we don’t want to be the judge of what’s good or bad taste. We just see this as a simple case of unauthorized use of our copyright-protected material.”
Interestingly enough, Constantin Film went on to say that they have not seen a positive or a negative sales impact from the popularity of the clip on the web. Not only can Internet celebrity status launch you into intangible stardom, but it can land you in hot water with special interest groups, and leave you with little ability to convert your social media currency.
With this particular situation we’re able to address the misconceptions surrounding web popularity becoming monetary gain. It’s easy enough for individuals and businesses to assume that recognition can be easily leveraged for financial rewards, but it’s not often the content owner that reaps the rewards. It’s not Constantin Film that can directly monetize the parodies, but Google.
Such a situation is quite common amongst those that look to social media for high recognition, especially as businesses look more towards new media and its sharing mechanisms to build their brands. The matter of turning that into cash is still a problem that those without deep pockets have a more difficult time figuring out.
Until the social media system is more efficiently monetized for the self-sustainability for individual interests (such as Constantin Film), the distribution of content and its subsequent monetization will remain in small rotation. As we see an updated YouTube system more effectively take down the clips at an automated level, we also see how Google moves towards this self-sustained system that puts more individuals in control over their content.