CARTOONS OF A RACIST PAST CONTINUE TO LURK ON YOUTUBE

Published: April 28, 2008
Among the millions of clips on the video-sharing Web site YouTube are 11 racially offensive Warner Brothers cartoons that have not been shown in an authorized release since 1968.
 
 
 
April 28, 2008    
 
 
 
Youtube
Despite efforts to suppress them, racist cartoons from the 1940s have been circulating on the Web. Above, Bugs Bunny outwits a rabbit hunter.
 
 
 
 
Some of the cartoons were removed on April 16. A message saying the cartoons were no longer available because of a copyright claim by Warner appeared in their place. By evening the messages disappeared, and some of the cartoons were back. Representatives for YouTube and Warner would not confirm whether the companies had tried to remove the cartoons.
 
Ricardo Reyes, a YouTube spokesman, said YouTube relies on copyright holders to identify infringing content and on users to flag offensive content. If people do not complain, videos remain, he said. Mr. Reyes said that copyright violations are removed “very quickly” once identified, but the problem “is that ownership is often tough to determine.” He said many users “unknowingly post because they don’t know the law.”
 
A representative for Warner wrote in an e-mail message that “Warner Brothers has rights to the titles” in question and that “we vigorously protect all our copyrights. We do not make distinctions based on content.”
 
The cartoons, known as the “Censored 11,” have been unavailable to the public for 40 years. Postings no longer appear if YouTube is searched for “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs,” a parody of “Snow White” and the most famous of the cartoons. But a search for “Coal Black” does find the cartoon.
 
These cartoons were controversial when first released; the N.A.A.C.P. unsuccessfully protested “Coal Black” before it was shown in 1943. Richard McIntire, the director of communications for the N.A.A.C.P., wrote in an e-mail message that “the cartoons are despicable. We encourage the films’ owners to maintain them as they are — that is, locked away in their vaults.”
 
WMAV01, a YouTube user who posted some of the cartoons and preferred not to give his name, wrote in an e-mail message that “these cartoons were never officially ‘banned’ by any law” and added that the cartoons had “historical value.” WMAV01 said the cartoons were available on Web sites like foundrymusic.com, which is run by “The Opie and Anthony Show,” a talk radio program.
 
The cartoons are also available on bootleg DVDs from Web sites like banned-cartoons.com, which sells a collection of 165 such cartoons. At least two of the shorts are available on unlicensed DVDs sold by third parties on Amazon.
 
Michael Barrier, author of four books on the history of animation and comics, said the cartoons should be “presented in an informed way for an intelligent, adult audience.” Mr. Barrier also said the Censored 11’s appearance on YouTube “shows that there is a demand, so the logical step would be to release them in a way that is profitable for you as a copyright holder.”
 
 
DANIEL E. SLOTNIK
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com )
 
 
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1 Comment

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One response to “CARTOONS OF A RACIST PAST CONTINUE TO LURK ON YOUTUBE

  1. Juan over at Highbrid Nation did a nice piece on these racist cartoon showing up on the net. My opinion on the whole thing is that these cartoons need to be soon and should not be sweeped under a rug or locked in a vault. They are part of our history. Our society (Whites and blacks alike) seem to want to hide or “ban” anything viewed as racist. Whats the end goal? To say “look. no racism”. We need to look at things such as these cartoons so we can understand how deep rooted racism is and was. Only then can we move forward. Pretending like they don’t exist doesn’t help.

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