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21/04/2010 by

Constantin Film & The Hitler Parody Downfall

Most of you will be aware of Hitler’s comeback and second career as social commentator. The iPhone 4G story leaked and Hitler was all over it like a cheap suit. Ronaldo left Manchester United to join Les Merengues in Madrid and Hitler made sure people were aware of his displeasure.

These are just 2 of the 100s of parodies of the scene from Downfall, featuring Adolf Hitler. I would have linked to the videos, were it not for the fact they are no longer on Youtube.

Constantin Film, the company behind the film are not amused (unlike the millions of viewers who watched the videos) and have ordered Youtube to take down any video containing scenes from their film. They have obviously never been told that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Nor do they seem to have a sense of humour. Or business acumen.

The way people took hold of this piece of content and made it there own should be what companies dream about, but instead they wet the bed.  Hundreds of people took the time to use the content and turn it into something valuable and shared it with their friends – millions of people saw the clips, many of whom would not have known about this scene and film otherwise.

That’s not thievery, that’s free promotion! This is what Lawrence Lessig calls remix culture, an environment in which people can take a piece of content and add their creativity on top of it – it’s something all parties benefit from.

The director of the film, Oliver Hirschbiegel, sees the funny side – earlier this year he told the NY Times “”I think I’ve seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director.”

Sadly the production company and copyright holder don’t see the funny side. From all the people at ViralBlog and ViralTracker, we would like to take a moment of silence on this sad day.

RIP Hitler Parodies.


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Daan Jansonius

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