YouTube recently pulled two highly popular sets of videos from their website after legal threats: the Michael Mann 'Hide the Decline' videos made popular after ClimateGate, and the popular Hitler parody videos excerpted from the German film 'Downfall.'
The NewsBusters website reported late last night that video giant YouTube has pulled from its website all versions of the highly popular 'Hide the Decline' video parody of AGW researcher Michael Mann, made famous in the wake of the ClimateGate scandal. This news follows closely on the heels of reports that YouTube has pulled all versions of the immensely popular Hitler parody videos, all of which used the same four-minute excerpt from the Academy Award-nominated German film Downfall. The film depicts the last days of Adolf Hitler in the Reich Chancellery bunker as Russian Red Army forces conquered Berlin at the end of WWII.
The reason given by YouTube in both cases was the same: pending threats of legal action. In the case of the Hide the Decline video, Michael Mann threatened to sue Minnesotans for Global Warming, the creators of the video, if they did not comply. Yesterday, M4GW informed their fans that they had chosen to pull the video for financial reasons. The parody mocks Penn State climate researcher Michael Mann, who was caught up in the ClimateGate investigation when a hacker posted leaked emails from the Hadley Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Britain. Many of Mr. Mann's personal emails were among them.
This news follows closely on the heels of a new report by the Daily Caller that the highly popular Hitler parody videos, which contained comedic English subtitles superimposed over a four-minute excerpt of the German language film Downfall, have also been taken down. The video giant pulled all versions from its website after threats of legal action by Constantin Films, which owns the rights to Downfall. Despite the immense popularity of the Hitler parodies, which made fun of everything from losses by the New York Mets baseball team to Martha Coakley's stunning loss to Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Constantin Films has been entangled in copyright infringement battles over the clips for years. Opponents of the ban argue that the parodies are actually great promos for the film by piquing public interest in it.
As MSNBC reported, even Downfall director Oliver Hirshbiegel took great amusement in the many parody videos produced since the film's release in 2004, saying during an January interview that fans and associates had forwarded him links to nearly 150 different parody versions of the video excerpt from his film. "Someone sends me the links every time there's a new one. 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." In a defiant yet amusing response, fans of the Hitler parody videos have posted a brand new Hitler parody video on YouTube of Hitler reacting to YouTube removing the Hitler parody videos.