The movie studio responsible for the award-winning, German-Austrian film Downfall (German: Der Untergang) has asked YouTube to take down several videos from the massively popular subtitled “Hitler finds out…” meme, and the site has complied.
Search YouTube and you’ll still find hundreds of Downfall parodies, but click through to some of the bigger ones and you’ll now get the message, “This video contains content from Constantin Film, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.”
According to TechCrunch, the first Downfall parody to be taken down was the one about the iPhone 4G leak, but other popular parodies followed. At four million views, “Hitler Gets Banned from Xbox Live” was one of the most watched and thus among the casualties. The remaining videos might get taken down soon as well.
Each parody video takes a scene from Downfall in which Hitler throws a tantrum when he learns that he cannot win the war. Fake subtitles are then applied to make it appear as if he’s having a tantrum about something else. The topics have ranged from Michael Jackson’s death to Hitler learning that he’s the subject of an out-of-control YouTube video meme.
Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel told New York Magazine that he laughs at the parodies. “You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director,” he said. Unfortunately, Constantin Film’s legal team isn’t as easygoing about it.
Of course, as Mr. Eugenides notes, the whole thing jumped the shark about a year ago. At least that’s about when I stopped watching them.
However I did make an exception for this one, which in a just world would have been the last and most definitive. Since it’s not on YouTube, it may be available for a little while longer.