Censorship & Hitler

YouTube, after a request from the German production company behind the movie “Downfall, has been pulling parody clips of the film. The clips use the image of Hitler’s final speech to his followers while in the bunker where they die. YouTube users replace the audio with their own, making Hitler appear to be selling soap, talking about gay sex, and all other sorts of crazy ideas.

According to this blog entry by Aaron Barnhart at www.tvweek.com, this is illegal.

The German company, afraid of any use of Hitler and making fun of him, demanded that all of the parodies get removed from YouTube. The site pulled the parodies, setting off a firestorm. Once again the question of what is fair use pops up.

We are being bombarded with the message that simply using something that someone else created is a violation of copyright laws. According to the Center for Social Media at the School of Communication American University this is not the case. Watch their video for a more clear idea of what we, the public, can and cannot do with other people’s work.

My own personal view is that using Hitler in a parody is something that needs to be done with extreme caution. It is too easy to make him look like a nice guy; someone incapable of ordering his followers to do the horrific things they did to over 20 million people, only 6 million of which were Jewish.

(Check out the United States Holocaust Museum website)

Hitler was one of the most evil minded people in history. He used his charm and great leadership capabilities to do horrible things. Too many people in this world continue to believe in his teachings and his ideology.

He is a touchy subject. And using him in a way that denies the holocaust or makes Hitler look like a good guy is against the law in Germany. You can end up spending the rest of your life in prison.

Does this make sense? Not really. But at the same time Germany is trying to keep those that still follow the Nazi way of life from taking over the government and starting another world war. We must remember that both official world wars were fought against Germany.