Monday, May 03, 2010

US church censors YouTube

If you try googling "gravey and jobriath" and click the first YouTube link, you'll be greeted with the message "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America." The problem is, they don't own the copyright to that clip. It's a clip from The Simpsons that parodies Davey and Goliath, a children's show to which the church actually does own the copyright. Still, this is a parody and should be a clear-cut case of Fair Use.

In the episode "HOMR", "Gravey and Jobriath" was a show watched by Ned Flanders and his sons at an animation festival. The episode concerned Gravey's attempts to construct a pipe bomb ("to blow up Planned Parenthood!"). In contrast to the traditionally animated style of The Simpsons, the segment was created using stop-motion animation much like the original series. It ended with Gravey shoving the pipe bomb into Jobriath's mouth for his "lack of faith," followed by an off-screen explosion and cheering from the Flanders children.

Fox or Gracie Films could claim the rights to this clip, not the ELCA. So what's going on? Is the church taking down these clips because they look too much like Davey and Goliath? Strange then that a search for "davey and goliath" on YouTube returns several hits. The church seems to be targeting this parody specifically.

When YouTube user Kyntteri1 received a takedown notice, he responded by posting the notice itself in a new video: