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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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:05am

    I'm sure the producers want the world to know that if people got to know more psychopathic, genocidal, white nationalistic mass murderers, they wouldn't seem so bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:17am

      Re:

      Yeah, like Idi Amin, Chou En Lai, Hirohito, or... oh, wait...

      It's popular to bash white people at the moment. Psychotics come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Pick any Protected Class and do some hunting. You'll find a couple of psychotic mass murderers that were members.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re:

        I don't know any Nazi named Idi Amin, Chou En Lai, Hirohito

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron von Robber, 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re:

        But it is hard to find a group that are ALL psychotic mass murderers.....like Nazi.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:53am

          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!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:32am

        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"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Rather, "lets not point out the fact that they believed skin tone justified mass murder."

          When race plays into a killer's reasons for killing, its valid to point it out.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Jan 2019 @ 12:32am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re:

        There’s always someone who will defend nazis these days. Congratulations on being that guy... again.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ryuugami, 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:14am

    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.

    What do you expect from people whose thinking has tanked? :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:22am

    '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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:31am

    tell us something new! in fact the 'something new' would be for these producers to be stopped and fined a good amount of money! perhaps that would curb their enthusiasm!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:38am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:47am

    Punishment

    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..)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rico R. (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:55am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 12:21pm

    And this is why there needs to be a painful fine for sending a bogus notice.

    Also how long before we think they will be repped by Guardlay in mass lawsuits claiming the loss of billions from evil evil pirates who wouldn't even pony up the $1 rental fee because they would spend to much time cringing to actually finish it??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 12:46pm

    "all its really served to do is make it much more widely known why no one should ever bother" respecting copyrights at all.

    Fixed that for ya.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 1:52pm

    I have to wonder: Where are the “MUH FREEZE PEACH” people to rant and rave about how someone is literally using the power of the government to silence someone else’s legally protected speech?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 3:01pm

    Nazis and "anomalies"?

    It's a perfect out_of_the_blue shitstorm...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      As always your fawning devotion and fixation on them is almost as sad as the individual in question.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 3:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Almost?

        They're clearly the same person.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 8:16pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 9:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Either is a joke at blue's expense.

            There's not much of a downside, in my opinion.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 11:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Whether it's Blue pretending to be someone else trying to bait them, or some sad individual obsessing over them repeatedly, attempting to bait someone is pure spam, and as such flag worthy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 1:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Fair.

                The troll creed where they believe that every reported comment is either worth reading, or true, or both, does give humorous implications.

                We'll have to agree to disagree on this, because mocking blue? I'd tap that.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 9 Jan 2019 @ 7:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A few months back, he pulled the same foolishness but put my name on it instead of posting anonymously. When I signed up for an account, he bragged that he'd "made" me do it.

            It's Blue. He's admitted as much.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 11:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It like he’s THIS close to having a moment of self awareness and then yanks back on his subconscious violently at the brink.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 3:20pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 3:50pm

      Please provide proof that situations such as these are “outliers” and the necessary citations required for verifying your evidence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      How's that John Steele defense fund coming along, bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2019 @ 4:44pm

      Re:

      “Yes, every second of every day someone breaks the law and abuses copyright law to try and stifle criticism.


      Fixed that for you bro

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2019 @ 6:48am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 9 Jan 2019 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re:

        Gah. Above comment is mine.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 9 Jan 2019 @ 7:06am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 8 Jan 2019 @ 3:36pm

    Springtime for Hilter and Germany...

    Deutschland is happy and gay...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    IronChef, 8 Jan 2019 @ 9:37pm

    Been awhile.

    I came here to talk about Cable's foray into 10G and CapitalOne Coffee Cafes.

    Anyone in?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 9 Jan 2019 @ 6:05am

    Where Hans Torched - A Charlie Manson film

    Now handling all publicity through B. Streisand and Associates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 9 Jan 2019 @ 9:03am

    Can't we shed some blame upon the likes of Twitter, Youtube, and others for allowing these bogus DMCA abuses to fester?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zof (profile), 18 Jan 2019 @ 4:44pm

    This movie feels like a wake-up call for the nutters that want to ban everything that doesn't fit their worldview. It's like a troll to wake people up that think social justice is more important than free speech.

    Jonathan Swift is definitely turning in his grave. His works would all be attacked by the virtue signaling nutters today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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