Could this be the dumbest company in the world?

Constantin Film, the company responsible for making the acclaimed movie Downfall (2004), is stepping up a crusade to have thousands of humorous parody excerpts of the film removed from You Tube, say reports.

The spoof clips have been one of the more successful internet memes, watched by millions of users over and over again.

The clips centre around an excerpt from the film, known in Germany as Der Untergang, which sees an enranged Adolf Hitler during his last days, having a rant at his generals in his besieged Berlin bunker.

In what must be one of the more massive failures of humour and imagination (not to mention intelligence), Constantin Films has already successfully managed to remove some of the clips and looks to be continuing its campaign.

Can the company not see how negatively this reflects on them? How these brief clips could be used as a substitute for the film itself is a bit puzzling. If anything, the spoof clips have generated endless positive publicity and interest in what had been a rather niche, art film — and all of it for free. Why can everyone but Constantin Films not see this?

I watched the original movie — and it was brilliant. I recommended it to friends. But I find it bizarre that a company capable of producing such a brilliant piece of visual literacy, can act in such a heavy-handed, witless manner.

The company can only be motivated by not wanting its work of art to be tainted in any way, possibly concerned that people won’t take their precious film seriously any more. Give us a break. People were not born yesterday, especially the many clever, resourceful authors behind the parodies.

Moreover Constantin Films are about to learn a hard lesson: This is the internet era — culture belongs to everyone and it’s very difficult to control.

Constantin should also know they are fighting a losing battle. Now that it has been widely reported that they are fighting this rather unpopular and ultimately futile war — as they step up their efforts in a misguided attempt to enforce copyright, so too will the internet community step up its campaign to break it.

So that’s one film production company versus the internet. I wonder who will win?

Already there is a parody itself about Constantin trying to remove the parodies on You Tube, Hitler reacts to the Hitler parodies being removed from YouTube. There will no doubt be more.

Locally, a parody about politics was recently created by journalist Gus Silber. It’s still up. Silber’s take sees a furious Adolf Hitler discovering that “the AWB have called off their machete race war”, below.

The spoofs are so popular that they have even become what is known as a “meta-meme”, because the meme itself is parodied in one of the videos. If you want more, The Telegraph lists what it considers to be 25 of the top parodies here.

I hope Constantin come to their senses. The war is already lost.

Matthew Buckland: Publisher


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