• Germany's news in English

The downfall of the 'Downfall' mash-ups

The Local · 22 Apr 2010, 16:18

Published: 22 Apr 2010 16:18 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The original scene from the 2004 drama portrays Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler in the final days of his life. As Allied forces draw near, an increasingly tense Hitler loses his temper, raging at commanders during a meeting in his bunker.

YouTube users have chosen a remarkable range of topics as alternative reasons for Hitler’s rant – expressed in alternately obscene, ridiculous, and humorous subtitles synced with the actor’s passionate diatribe. Spoofs have ranged from anger over football losses to problems operating Windows Vista.

The viral spread of countless mash-ups has even been parodied with this scene and others, with one portraying Hitler in a rage about the impertinence of mocking the film, and another where he pleads for it to stop. Both of these, it turns out, aren’t far from the sentiments of Constantin Film, the Frankfurt-based production company with rights to Der Untergang, as the original German version of the film is called.

According to news agency AP, following a request by the company, YouTube began removing hundreds of the video memes on Tuesday.

Company head of film and TV Martin Moszkowicz told AP that the move was the last straw after several years of fighting what it believes to be copyright infringement, adding that Jewish groups had also complained about that the mash-ups were in bad taste.

“When does parody stop? It is a very complicated issue. So we are taking a simple approach: Take them all down,” he said. “The important thing is to protect our copyright. We are very proud of the film.”

While some critics say that use of the film clip falls into “Fair Use” copyright rules, which allow for the use of others’ work for some purposes such as education or parody, YouTube’s official position on copyright concerns is to remove questionable content at the request of the owner.

YouTube has declined to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile in the face of mounting criticism from web users that the spoofs were actually positive PR for the movie, Constantine Film told The Local on Wednesday it was no longer commenting on the matter.

Story continues below…

But pesky internet users had already set about mashing up the famous scene about the downfall of the “Downfall” mash-up craze on Wednesday – only this time they used alternative video sharing site Vimeo.

Hitler, as "Downfall producer" orders a DMCA takedown from Brad Templeton on Vimeo.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:46 April 22, 2010 by majura
Having seen the film and appreciated it for what it is- I still think this is a bit of typical oversensitivity both on the part of Constantin and said Jewish groups.

It's not as if the majority of these parody/mock videos are supporting Hitler/Nazism/Neo-Nazism. If anything it makes Hitler look even more ridiculous, just in varying different lights. Either way, I just get confused when watching the parodies anyway- reading English but hearing German.
19:12 April 22, 2010 by mrbalky
Constantin is showing typical movie studio/distributor short sightedness. I never knew about this film until I started seeing this meme popping up. It was only because of this meme that I became a viewer of the original.

Constantin is getting free publicity, in front of many many more eyes than they *ever* could afford in actual advertising.

I understand protecting a brand, but it is clear that these parodies are not the original. Constantin should be thrilled, not issuing takedown notices.
20:14 April 22, 2010 by wood artist
I happened to watch the original again last night. It is, without a doubt, one of the great movies of recent times, and Ganz's performance will likely never be topped. He managed to find a human being amongst the wreckage of Hitler, and made his ranting seem somehow understandable.

I have also seen several of the parodies, although I've never gone looking for them. Some were good, and very funny. Others were less so. I didn't find them disrepectful, and they certainly didn't destroy the original in any way.

Constantin should be happy with the publicity these bring, and they probably have inspired many people to view the original just to see the rest. Parody has always existed, and always will. This wasn't that big a deal.

22:40 April 22, 2010 by biker hotel harz
I'm dead against censorship and very pro Youtube but the Untergang mashups were quite honestly just not funny and I congratulate the producers of this brilliant film for getting them removed.

I fear the supporters of these dreadfully embarrasing clips were head shaven, snotty kid draggin, non-passport holders from the Midlands
07:58 April 23, 2010 by Zobirdie
I think Constantin is proving to be stupid, shortsighted, and, sadly, American in this action. (No offence guys, but you are the home of the RIAA and etc) I think what they have done is atrocious. The mashups are generally funny, and anyone who gets offended by them are WAY oversensitive. This has just shown the extreme of modern cranial-rectal syndrome.

I'm so unimpressed with Constantin, that unless they reverse this, I will not pay to see another one of their films again. I'm voting with my feet for freedom of Fair Use.
02:02 April 28, 2010 by Jasmine33
I would like to see the movie sometime as from what I've seen in the YouTube clip the acting is good. YouTube has a listing called Hitler reacts to Kraftwerk, "The Catalogue". I recognized the name of the band Kraftwerk, that they are a German band specializing in synthesizer music so I watched the clip. I guess soon this clip and many others will be gone from YouTube.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd