YouTube takes down Greenpeace Shell video

by Brian Fitzgerald

August 29, 2013

A remote-controlled banner (which was secretly installed several weeks ago) unfurls in front of the winner's podium at the Shell Belgian Grand Prix, just before the scheduled presentation of the winners trophy. The banner reads! with a subverted Shell logo. Shell is the main sponsor of the Belgian Grand Prix, paying millions to have its logo visible around the track. Shell is leading the oil companies drive into the Arctic, investing billions in its Alaskan and Russian drilling programs. A worldwide movement of millions has sprung up to stop them.

© Greenpeace

Video of our rather hilarious hijack of Sunday’s Shell-sponsored Formula 1 ceremony has been pulled by YouTube following a “Copyright” (AKA “Embarrassment”) complaint. While the take down appears to have been ordered by the Formula 1 organisers, we suspect Shell is pleased. They may even be behind it. Now, why would we think that?

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that a corporation has tried to silence a Greenpeace parody or critical piece by claiming they own their name and therefore any content mentioning them.

Nestle attempted that with a video we madeexposing Kit Kat’s complicity in forest destruction,and the result was one of the greatest Social Media brand meltdowns ever:a case study today in how NOT to respond to criticismon the internet. Shell may not have gotten the memo.

Before being pulled, the Formula 1 video had earnednearly a quarter of a million views in just over 36 hours. If you’re curious why, you can see it here:

So far, nobody has contacted us about a copyright violation for THIS copy of the video. We must warn you, however, that you shouldnot share or link this video: millions of us may be held liable for copyright infringement, and Shell has made enough money destroying our planet that they could, conceivably, go after us all. So be a good internet and do as the coporate petroleum giant says, will you? (We’re kidding. Pleasedownload and share!)

But Shell may want to note that in court case after court case, our legal right to free speech has triumphed every single time it’s been tested against a corporate giant who thinks they can silence criticism with trademark law. Thankfully, that’s not the way the world works — in part thanks to thevigilance of internet freedom fighters against laws like SOPA. This is another example of why we must continue to defend our rights to free expression on the internet over the intellectual property rights of would-be corporate censors.

The best thing you can do to register your displeasure with Shell?Join the movement to keep them out of the Arctic.Unlike free speech, oil in the frozen north is a truly dangerous thing.

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