The company that unwittingly has done more to educate the world about Adolf Hitler is now attempting to undo that feat. In 2004, the German film company Constantin Films released Der Untergang, known in America as The Downfall. It's an excellent film about the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. The thing is, the film was not very well known outside of Germany until the start of the Downfall parody meme. Beginning in late 2007, parodies began appearing on YouTube using a scene where Hitler launches into a tirade upon being informed by his generals that the war is truly lost. In the parodies, subtitles are used to give the tirade alternate meanings. The parodies have involved, politics, sports, popular culture, even the parodies themselves. And even though the parodies were done by amateurs, and were of uneven quality, the great performance of Bruno Ganz as Hitler, and the inventiveness of the parodies, kept them strangely outside the realm of the "overdone".
But now Constantin Films is in the process of trying to get the Hitler parodies removed from YouTube for copyright violation. And though there are hundreds of these parodies, Constantin has had some success. The parody makers, of course, are screaming about the Fair Use Doctrine, while admitting that it would be expensive and probably futile for individuals to fight Constantin and YouTube/Google in a long court battle.
Of course, immediately upon release of news of Constantin's action, a new Downfall parody was released, this one showing Hitler upset over Constantin's action. Watch it now while you still have the chance. (Embedding has been disabled on the Constantin parody.)
The fight over Constantin's actions should be fun to watch, since it will undoubtedly involve more parodies. And Constantin may be shooting itself in the foot, since the parodies have greatly increased awareness of that exceptional film. The parody meme should give Constantin pause. What if the meme had never existed? What if Hitler had never existed? Oh. It's been done.