The last couple of weeks have left a lot of us questioning the extent to which YouTube values our freedom of speech and expression. It seems that the site has really been cracking down on creators, removing videos left and right including the Hitler Downfall parodies and M.I.A.’s new ‘Born Free’ video. Today, the newest addition to YouTube’s pulled videos was added to the list. ‘Crayola Thanks the Tea Partiers’, a parody created by political humorists The Full Ginsburg, has been removed from YouTube thanks to the conservative blog iOwnTheWorld.
‘Crayola Thanks the Tea Partiers’ depicts an actress playing Crayola’s CEO. She thanks the Tea Party movement for a boost in Crayola sales, because the new political movement has been using crayons to make protest signs. As a parody, the video pokes fun at the Tea Party, and insinuates that the members are both racist and not the brightest crayons in the box (pun intended).
Conservative blog iOwnTheWorld responded to the video saying, “If we don’t hear that Crayola Crayons is doing everything they can to stop the makers of this video can we assume that Crayola endorses this video? If that is the case I will never use Crayola, or their affiliate’s (Hallmark) products, ever again.” The blog stated that the video was deliberately made to look like it was produced by Crayola and, therefore, Crayola is personally responsible if they do not take action. They insist that many viewers will believe this is a Crayola production and that Crayola should sue for this egregious violation of branding copyright. Personally, I think that it is extremely clear that this video is a parody and anyone in his or her right mind would be able to see that it was not made by Crayola.
Crayola responded to iOwnTheWorld with a letter stating that “Crayola was not involved in the making of this video, nor did we in any way authorize the use of our brand name, the Crayola logo or the products shown.” However, this was not enough for the conservative blog, which continued to push Crayola to take legal action and have the video removed.
Apparently the blog succeeded in pushing Crayola, and their parent company Hallmark, into taking action. The video was removed from YouTube today and replaced with the text “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Hallmark Cards, Incorporated.” However, the simple removal of the video may not be enough for the iOwnTheWorld blogger who says he now has a Pavlovian response to the brand. “I hear Crayola and I feel as if I’m being hated and my beliefs besmirched and my way of life ridiculed. I don’t think I can bring myself to buy a Crayola product anymore, or a Hallmark card – unless of course I hear that they are suing these filmmakers.”
Do you think it was right for YouTube to remove the video, which is so obviously a parody? How do you feel about the recent onslaught of videos being pulled from YouTube?