Hitler, copyright and “fair use”
The “Downfall parodies” aren’t really parodies, in the legal sense. But as this one demonstrates, “Hitler” does seem to understand something about copyright, law, intellectual property management and, of course, slaloming through alternative realities:
Never before has an historical figure, much less one of history’s most evil men yet one still regarded as some kind of transcendent figure, been so thoroughly, widely and ubiquitously mocked and cut down to a symbol of utter foolishness. And, as “he” points out in this clip, never has a “classic” but otherwise fairly obscure movie become so well known to millions of English speakers who probably otherwise wouldn’t even know which side Germany was on.
We wouldn’t expect Adolf Hitler to get either of these points. But a lot of other people — and lawyers — who fuss around with free expression and creativity when IP rights, or “IP rights,” are involved really should.
This was originally posted on Ron Coleman’s LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION:® blog on trademark, copyright, Internet law and free expression. His pretty good other blog is Likelihood of Success. You can follow all the excitement of Ron’s unconventional thinking on these issues via Twitter.