The news that the owners of the extremely good film about Hitler – Downfall – have asked You Tube to remove the many parodies of it on its site is fascinating.
Fitting actor Bruno Ganz’s Hitlerian rage to a political or social issue has become a mainstay of digital culture and is a proper art phenomenon.
These parodies can be very funny depending on the technical skill of the individual and the time at which the joke is delivered. There’s a skillful example below by Chris Applegate about the recent leaking of the British National Party membership list (apologies to Godwin’s law).
But, successful intellectual property such as Downfall = money and the law exists to support the rights of property owners. There are increasing arguments of this sort as traditional businesses of intellectual property attempt to control the anarchic and apparently uncontrolled* environment of digital derivation and creation.
There’s some interesting reaction from Nicholas Lovell about the benefits of mash-ups . These, of course, conflict with the traditional economic interests of rights holders such as Constantin Films, owners of Downfall.
* I’ll be writing more about this soon.