Village People vs. hitler? (No, Village People’s Record Company vs. Free Speech)

CNET reports on the latest attack on Fair Use. Some German TV station decided to poke fun at hitler (I don’t capitalize his name, sorry) and/or The Village People. (Hat tip to Bob Frank at Illuminor, LLC)

Somebody combined the Village People’s hit song, “YMCA,” with footage of a dancing Adolf Hitler and posted the clip to YouTube. Now the company that owns the rights to the band’s music is preparing to sue YouTube.

John Giacobbi, president of Web Sheriff, which hunts down pirated material on the Web and tries to get it removed, said his company has sent 500 “take-down” notices to YouTube. Each time the video is pulled, someone else uploads another copy. Giacobbi believes that YouTube has the ability to screen for copyright content in the same way it does for pornography.

The Hitler video is edited to make it look like he and other well-known nazis are singing and dancing to “YMCA,” the Village People’s biggest hit. What’s more aggravating for Giacobbi and the group is that copycat videos have begun cropping up. Many show the same footage but are combined with other songs by the group, a ’70s disco band whose members dressed in costume.

“It’s highly inappropriate,” Giacobbi said. “Consider that the song’s composers were both Jewish. It’s not funny. It’s stupid and hurtful.” (source)

It is also, most likely, Fair Use. For God’s Sake, doesn’t anyone read Campbell v. Acuff-Rose anymore? Parodies are often stupid, often hurtful (just ask Carol Burnett here and here). That’s the point. Parodies need a victim!

This mashup is absolutely brilliant. It makes fun of hitler AND the Village People at the same time!

I don’t know about any readers out there, but I think that hitler would go absolutely bonkers if he saw this … and anything that treads on Der Fuhrer’s memory is just fine by me. I think the whole nazi thing was the result of deeply repressed homosexual urges anyhow. (That’s my explanation for a lot of violence – especially by anyone enamored of uniforms, jackboots, etc.).

On the other hand, the whole “YMCA” dance is just so creepy that I think it is a marvel that nobody did this before. Sorry, but just can’t stop laughing any time I hear a Village People song and I see everyone drop into formation, just like they are at some weird Nuremberg rally.

Here is the real error Giacobbi made. Now that he’s gotten involved, and now that there is a fair amount of internet buzz about the parody, a candle has turned into a forest fire. If you do a Yahoo! search for hitler, parody, and YMCA you get these results. Congratulations, Mr. Giacobbi, you just made this into an internet phenomenon instead of just another obscure parody.

Here is a posting of the video. Collegehumor.com

And more Village People parodies.

Colin Powell does YMCA in Jakarta.

Matzo Man!

The Simpsons do “In the Navy”

Oh, and if you think that hitler doing the Village People is bad, take a look at what Finns did to the song…. oh the humanity!!!

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