Downfall studio Constantin Films is obviously not feeling the same way about the seemingly never-ending Hitler meme that’s been flooding the web for the past several months as the German flick’s director, Oliver Hirschbiegel. The studio’s copyright claim and subsequent takedown/blockage of Downfall YouTube clips this week not only proves that the company isn’t finding the clips as “hilarious” as Hirschbiegel does, but perhaps they’ve shown that they don’t get what truly constitutes “viral” (and/or overlooked the 2005 film’s shelf life in the process).
In January, the filmmaker told NY Mag’s Vulture, “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.”
While the meme certainly has grown tiresome and we can understand the Anti-Defamation League’s feeling that “Hitler is not a cartoon character,” some are calling Constantin’s YouTube move “IP extremism in action.” Even if so, Constantin’s head of TV and film Martin Moszkowicz admits to the Daily Mail that the studio faces “an uphill battle” as new Hitler clips are being replaced faster they can be removed.