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Erica Crooks @officialericcrooks

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Spitting Image Fandom vs ITV / YouTube Copyright Takedowns

Posted by officialericcrooks - August 6th, 2020


Spitting Image Fandom vs ITV / YouTube Copyright Takedowns

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For those who don’t know what “ Spitting Image “ is, Spitting Image was a political satire puppet television show in Britain from 1984 - 1996 that was getting about 15 million viewers a week in it’s heyday . 


Since Spitting Image images and even ( unauthorized ) Spitting Image clips and even full length episodes and series ( Almost Every Single Spitting Image Episode and Special broadcast ) were uploaded to the Google owned Video Sharing website “ YouTube “ .


Like Network DVD when they started ( and never finished which makes fans angry to this very day ) releasing DVDs, they took down Spitting Image videos on youtube just to upload a handful of clips because “their uploads are legal” ( rolling eyes ) .


As Spitting Image prepares to make a return on Britbox this fall / later this year, ITV is doing the same exact thing. Taking down Spitting Image videos due to “copyright infringement”. 


I’m here to challenge this corporate perspective regardless if my opinion will influence or not since they own the master tapes ( or whatever’s available * as mentioned on the back of the DVDs by the way * ) and copyright.


One question is just how big is the current cult following fanbase .

Fans do exist including younger generations that never grew up with the show when it was originally broadcasted on television , there’s even those who DON’T like in Europe and discovered the show else where ( a VHS tape, a museum, from a friend, the internet, etc ) like myself.


One of the big reasons why people question the subject of copyright law is how it limits “ Discovery “. Copyright Law is capitalism and that’s all it’s protects, capital - profit - etc.

But did you know that many people from Spitting Image were Leftists ? Including Roger Law which Steve Nallon mentioned was “ a Socialist “.

Even during the film screening in 2013 celebrating Spitting Image’s 30th anniversary, John Lloyd said the following.

“ I was you know the the liberal voting middle-of-the-road reasonable BBC train producer trying to mediate between these lunatics and they won't get a

Marxist you know Che Guevara hats and ( shaking clenched raised fist )

all this kind of stuff. “

In fact , a Spitting Image T-Shirt ( around 1985 / 1986 ) existed that quoted Bob Crow “ If We all Spit Together, We’ll Drown The Bastards”. 


And I know as an Anarchist myself, the subject of Copyright ( and Hierarchical Power itself ) is questionable in it’s legitimacy . 


YouTube and Social Media platforms itself have been absolutely horrible to content creators and users. Even more than ever before, copyright infringement takedowns and Content ID copyright infringement takedowns ignore the fact that “ Fair Use “ exists.


Perhaps this alone doesn’t qualify in terms of fair use, but I do want to stand up for the rights of fandom.


Since business only cares about profit and capitalism in all it’s superficial hierarchy, 

what they fail to recognize is “copyright infringement” or whatever label you want to call fandom sharing what they love IS ACTUALLY BENEFICIAL TO THEM !

Again, this is about “ Discovery “ ,

especially with the fact that the New upcoming Spitting Image on Netflix wants to reach to an “international audience”.


Even before the YouTube copyright takedowns started to happen, I bring up the first question, how big is the Spitting Image cult following audience ?


The fans do exist and fandoms no matter how big they are in comparison are just as equal generally. But what business cares about is profit, viewing people as wallets, how much profit is this going to make them ? Whenever viewership is in the Millions, business people start paying attention, if it goes more than that, then they want to take action.

But there’s a problem among most fan bases.


The Nostalgic fans who want quality and the open minded liberal consumers who are just happy to get whatever is available.

I’ve seen this pattern in the Fanbases of The Simpsons, The Muppets & even Looney Tunes.


There’s a trend that’s happening now of “Reboots” of classics from the 1980s and currently with the 1990s due to the childhood generations being the age where they are parents.


Spitting Image doesn’t seem to be at that level, it does seem to me that the fanbase of Les Guignols De L’info might have a fanbase bigger than Spitting Image.


Is part of the reason that they are made in Europe and they haven’t gone through the international neoliberal capitalist pipeline like most franchises do in Hollywood with underpaid factory workers in China and other countries with horrible working conditions and all ? Yes folks, that’s how toys and most things are made unfortunately. See why people are against Capitalism ? And that’s just one example.


I hate to say that Spitting Image’s fanbase is very small because it’s the younger generations that are oppressed over the internet more than the older generations. In other words stuff that was going on in Britain when I was just a baby and living outside Europe. And I’m not the youngest generation adult anymore.


Today the only thing in America where at least some people recognize “ Those Puppets “ is the Genesis Land of Confusion music video, since the three NBC specials were never released on DVD or even VHS.


Fortunately with the release of some of the new puppets that are going to be appearing in the revival of Spitting Image on Britbox this fall / later this year, the images alone are turning into MEMES. So would ITV take those down too as “ copyright infringement “ ?


The point I want to make is , you can’t just rely on the advertising / marketing to spread the word alone. In fact the best word of mouth comes from people.

And especially anti-copyright.


The more ITV takes down Spitting Image videos, the less chances people will discover what made the show so great in the first place.


But going back to what I was saying regarding “ Reboots “, the Nostalgic fans are more often then not disappointed because it’s rare for something to please the nostalgic fans who tend to look deeper into the art’s cultural quality more than most people who tend to be a bunch of open minded liberal consumers in general.


In a way, it’s like destroying history. It would be horrible if copyright owners threw away the original master films just as much as capitalists throw away brand new stuff if they don’t make a profit on them like food, clothing, just about anything that people want and need. See why people go dumpster diving ?


I want to trust ITV’s intentions are good but again, Spitting Image’s fandom needs to be rediscovered and GROW !


Spitting Image is an amazing show and there are people from America such as myself that LOVE the show. Not only as a person who is from America that loves British Humor even if I don’t fully understand everything about British Culture to the point where I’m laughing at some stuff in a surreal way due to my ignorance or just because I’m a Puppet nerd who loves satire.


Fans Lives Matter.


And the more capitalists refuse to give Spitting Image fans what they want,

well… as Spitting Image used to say

“ It makes you wanna SPIT ! “


“ Spit on your own and you can’t do anything, but if we all Spit Together, WE’LL DROWN THE BASTARDS ! “

_ Bob Crow


_ Erica


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