Mimesis Law
22 April 2017

Nazi Anthem: Youtube Strikes Again With Ill-Informed Takedown Notices

September 28, 2016 (IP Flow) – “Horst Wessel Lied”, more popularly known as the ‘Nazi Anthem’, features in James K Lambert’s 2006 documentary “You Don’t Know Hitler”, and has been the subject of numerous takedown requests on Youtube by alleged copyright owners.

Lambert has consistently maintained that the song has resided in the public domain since the Second World War. His documentary makes use of the song whilst highlighting the horrors committed by Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler and also uses several clips Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 film Triumph of the Will.

This past week, Lambert saw his documentary removed from Youtube following a takedown request and alleged copyright claim from BR Enter Music, a German music label, acting on behalf of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library). However, this representation is suspect as the DNB has since informed Torrentfreak that BR Enter Music “does not represent the DNB”. In a lengthy blog post, Lambert details his response to the take down request reiterating that the 87-year old song was undoubtedly in the public domain, adding that regardless, the use of the song in the documentary falls within fair use laws.

At issue for Lambert is Youtube’s apparent assistance and support of copyright claims and takedown requests from parties with little to no legitimacy, which results in a censorship of an important part of history.

As of this morning, the documentary has been reinstated by Youtube. In a blog post, Lambert notes, however, that he received no explanation from Youtube and moreover, they appeared to threaten that the video may still be removed for other reasons. He states that he is nevertheless pleased with the outcome and vows to continue to push back against any alleged claims to the material, importantly recapping that:

  1. The Nazis and their successors are not entitled to copyright protection on Nazi Propaganda! Criminal records are in the Public Domain and no copyright claim that start with, “We own the Nazi…” is ever valid!

  2. Fair Use is grossly marginalized and beaten down everyday. Fair Use is not an exception to copyright, copyright is an exception to Fair Use, and it’s long past time that we figure this out.

  3. YouTube needs to create a more rational and fair system for resolving copyright disputes.

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  • James K. Lambert
    28 September 2016 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Thank you for posting about my story!