Producers Of Movie About Falling In Love With Nazis Using DMCA To Silence Criticism

from the dmca-for-censorship dept

Apparently the producers of the movie “Where Hands Touch,” which is being widely panned as terrible (NY Times calls it a “gut-wrenching misfire” and notes “by the end of the movie, my jaw felt unhinged from dropping so often.”), aren’t responding well to the criticism. While some of the criticism is about the “plodding” storyline, much of it is about the main plot, which is about a black woman in Nazi Germany — who appears to support the Nazi cause — falling in love with a Hitler Youth.

The film got little attention in its theatrical release, but became available online recently, and apparently the producers decided that people tweeting negative things about it deserve to be hit with DMCA takedowns. It seems to have started with Haaniyah Angus who live tweeted watching the film. Reading the entire thread is a treat (seriously, go read it), here are just a couple of clips from her live tweeting:

Anyway, there’s a lot more like that. In short, the film is getting mocked widely. Angus’ thread was so good and so thorough that Vulture published a conversation with her about just how bad the film is (another clip, but go read the whole thing):

Oh God, there are so many scenes that made me physically cringe. But I think the worst is when her little white brother (whose existence is never explained) says that her father was black ?head to toe.? I don?t know why, but that piece of dialogue just made me want to curl up in a ball and scream. Other than that, I think the scene where a Hitler Youth rally takes place in front of Leyna?s apartment and for some reason her first logical thought is, Oh, I?ll go hang with the li?l Nazis. As most would guess, they aren?t happy to see a black girl, and then proceed to call her a nigga. It?s just so much at once …

At one point in her thread, Angus uses a very short clip from the film to show how the film uses the awful romcom “rush to the airport, and see each other through a crowd of moving people” trope… except in a Nazi labor camp. You can guess what happened next: the producer of the film, Charles Hanson, filed a DMCA takedown notice:

Charlie Lyne saw this and wrote a good thread pointing out, why this use of the DMCA to censor negative criticism was clearly bullshit.

Lyne explains in detail what happened — even using the same short clip — to criticize the filmmakers for censoring criticism. You’ll surely guess what happens next. Yup! They send a DMCA notice about his thread too:

As Lyne points out, this is not really about the use of a very short clip (with commentary, which is clearly fair use), since the filmmakers seem to be leaving up tweets that show clips that are positive about the film:

Though, to be fair, it appears that after Lyne pointed out this bit of hypocrisy, then Hanson decided to send a takedown for that clip too.

Lyne and Angus weren’t the only ones to receive such takedown notices. Another Twitter user received a similar DMCA notice:

She says the “video” was “literally just me and my friend laughing over the ridiculousness of one of the scenes” using her smartphone.

The producer of the film, who appears to be manually sending these DMCA notices himself, responded to Gizmodo with a bunch of utter bullshit about how he’s only doing this to protect the copyright:

Charlie Hanson, the producer of the film, told Gizmodo in an email that they ?do not have the power to stifle criticism of the film. Everyone has been free to comment positively and negatively whether they have seen the film or not.? He argued that the film is only released in the U.S. at the moment, and that Where Hands Touch Ltd. ?has only issued DMCA notices regarding breaches of copyright in cases where unauthorised clips of the film have been copied and posted online.?

This is wrong for a variety of reasons. The fact that he admits the film is only available in the US highlights how these short clips — all used with comment and/or criticism of the film are obviously fair use. The clip that Angus and Lyne both posted was literally 14 seconds out of a movie. That’s not impacting the market. The criticism of his shit film might be impacting the market, but the clips are not. It appears that Hanson’s Twitter account is the aptly named @CharlieTantrum, which seems to accurately reflect his childish tantrum to criticism of his film. His Twitter feed is ignoring this entire controversy, but is merely reposting gushing tweets about the film instead.

Every so often some “copyright scholar” or “think tanker” will insist that copyright can’t be used for censorship and insist that it’s actually the engine for free speech. Those people are lying to you. And this is yet another example. Copyright is regularly used for censorship, though in this case, all its really served to do is make it much more widely known why no one should ever bother watching this awful movie.

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Comments on “Producers Of Movie About Falling In Love With Nazis Using DMCA To Silence Criticism”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Even then, most of them actually weren’t psychotic mass murderers. After several incidents where their soldiers refused to follow some of the more horrific orders that came down from on high, the Nazis ended up restructuring a lot of their operations so that no individual person was wholly responsible for the murders of civilians that they participated in, and often they weren’t actually aware of the full impact of their actions. In other words, the Nazis had to refine their evil to specifically work around the “problem” of too many Nazis having a conscience!

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

But that arguement does nothing to address the critizim of the film present in the comment, because the Hitler youth and other supporters of the Late Stage Nazi Party were, by definition, White. Are you really trying to use an #AllLivesMatter defnese for the Halocaust?

“Sure they killed lots of people they percieved as not matching their religious and ethnic standards, but Japan did bad shit too, so lets not blame the fact that they believed their skin tone justified murder”

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“It’s popular to bash white people at the moment. “

Only the violent racist morons. Depending on where you live, they’re far more dangerous to you than other groups. Certainly far more dangerous than people who died on the other side of the world decades ago.

“Pick any Protected Class”

White people are part of a protected class. White nationalists – the group being criticised in the post that triggered you so much – are not a protected class. if you’re discriminated against because you’re white, you are protected the same as a black person would. If you’re discriminated against because you’re a white supremacist, all bets are off.

I think you need a moment of self-reflection and examine why you were apparently incapable of noticing the difference.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'Fair what now?'

I wonder what the response would be were someone to point out that ‘Fair Use’ is a thing in the US, with ‘for commentary purposes’ one of the pretty firmly established ways you can use copyrighted works.

Either they’re completely ignorant of the very concept of ‘fair use'(unlikely I’d guess), or they’re ignoring it to kill off any criticism that happens to use clips of the crime against video in order to better highlight why it’s so bad with visual examples rather than just descriptions.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Enthusiasm for what?

If you mean making deplorable films, no. As terrible as it apparently is they are and should be allowed to make it thanks to free speech allowing them to do so, and I would have to object to attempts to shut them down for my own sake(the same freedom of speech that protects them is the one that would protect me if for whatever reason someone decides that they don’t care for what I’m saying) if nothing else.

If you mean sending out bogus DMCA claims in an attempt to stifle criticism on the other hand, then yes, a penalty of some sort would be fitting and called for I’d say.

Gary (profile) says:


So the film supports Nazi’s – that’s free speech.
And they used DCMA takedowns – hey, we know there is no penalties for that, so it’s a crime *not* to use them.

But it’s a terrible film with awful editing. Can we bring them up on charges for that? Crime against the arts! (Next we go after Michael Bay and Ewe Bool for their crimes against us all..)

Rico R. (profile) says:

I may not have seen the movie, but if you’re using the DMCA to silence criticism of a Nazi film that critics decry as God-awful, how is this any different from the book burning practiced in Nazi Germany? And this should be brought up before any copyright or fair use discussion; even if you believe in your hardest of hearts that clips of your movie juxtaposed to criticism is copyright infringement worthy of a DMCA takedown (which it’s not), and you then even use the DMCA takedown process to silence someone else TALKING about the previous takedown, how is this not seen as censorship? What’s next: replacing content taken down for “infringement” replaced with anti-piracy propaganda?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m really not sure if that would be less pathetic or more, having someone gush over themself like that, though it would certainly be in character for them.

If they were doing it themselves that would mean that they were constantly trying to make it seem like someone was laughably so fixated on them as to try to bait them into commenting, yet at the same time it would also mean that someone else wasn’t as obsessed over them as they are with TD.

I flagged both as worthless spam at best however, so to be honest I haven’t, and don’t plan on, putting much thought into it beyond occasionally pointing and laughing at them(whether singular or plural). Whether they’re gushing over themself as their own fictional, one-person fanclub, or someone else has taken enough blows to the head to do it in turn, it’s a sad, pathetic state of affairs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, once in a while someone breaks the law and abuses copyright law to try and stifle criticism. Of course, every second of every day copyright also ensures that artists are paid for their talent and work.

But a ding dong like Mike Masnick loves to ignore that reality and focus on outliers. Why? Because he is a 100% ridiculous person.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, once in a while someone breaks the law and abuses copyright law to try and stifle criticism. Of course, every second of every day copyright also ensures that artists are paid for their talent and work.

My thinking is along the lines of Blackstone’s Ratio concerting this. Being that Free Speech is magnitudes more important to our society than copyright, I’d rather thousands of copyright infringements go unpunished in order to protect a single individual’s First Amendment rights.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s also worth noting that he’s making one of his classic mistakes – assuming that all uses of copyright are positive for the artist and that all infringements are bad for them.

Once you get into the very murky grey areas of how copyrights are actually enforced in the real world, it makes his argument far less compelling even if you buy into his “anomaly” claims (which he never backs up, of course). There are indeed numerous artists who have thrived when their work was not effectively protected by copyright, and artists who have been irreparably damaged by it.

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