×

YouTube Restores Bad Lip Reading ‘Star Wars’ Parody Video, After Pulling It Over Bogus Copyright Claim

UPDATED, 11:35 a.m. ET: YouTube restored Bad Lip Reading’s viral parody of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Friday morning — more than 15 hours after pulling the video down because of an apparently fake copyright-takedown claim.

The video, a six-minute spoof of Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Force Awakens” blockbuster, features Mark Hamill doing a spot-on voiceover impression of co-star Harrison Ford.

Bad Lip Reading uploaded the video Thursday, topping 1 million views before YouTube removed it sometime before 7 p.m. ET. YouTube cited a copyright claim by New York-based Dramatists Play Service, which publishes and licenses plays by new and established playwrights — but on its Twitter account, DPS said that the claim was “erroneous” and that it didn’t know how the takedown claim was submitted in its name. The “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” video had more than 1.37 million views as of Friday at 11:35 a.m. ET.

Earlier: In an email to Variety Thursday, the creator of Bad Lip Reading (who prefers to remain anonymous) said his team was working to restore the video. “The people who made the claim (Dramatists Play Service) have zero grounds and one can’t help but assume it was done maliciously,” he wrote.

Dramatists Play Service later said on its Twitter account that the takedown notice was made in error and that the group has no copyright claims to the Bad Lip Reading video.

“We are aware of an erroneous claim made by our org to YouTube regarding the video’s copyright and are looking into how this occurred,” Dramatists Play Service said in a tweet Thursday night.

The company added, “We have no claim on any works in the video and will be working with YouTube to get the video reinstated ASAP.”

YouTube’s copyright-takedown notice on “‘The Force Awakens: A Bad Lip Reading’ (Featuring Mark Hamill as Han Solo)” earlier Friday. VIA YOUTUBE

YouTube has taken some steps to combat bogus copyright claims — but only for those flagged in its Content ID system. Last year the video giant implemented a policy under which videos subject to disputed copyright claims are allowed to remain online and generate ad revenue while the disputes were being evaluated. However, that applies only to Content ID, not to individual copyright takedown notices submitted by third parties (as in the Bad Lip Reading situation).

Bad Lip Reading is affiliated with Disney’s Maker Studios. It has teamed with Disney on previous projects, including a “High School Musical” parody in partnership with Disney XD.

The YouTube channel, which launched in 2011, started out with music parody videos and has expanded into satire of entertainment, sports (specifically NFL players) and politics. During the 2016 election, Bad Lip Reading released popular videos featuring Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. To date, the channel has garnered more than 800 million video views.

Bad Lip Reading is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment. The channel’s creator is reportedly in the music production business.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that YouTube’s policy change in 2016 to allow videos subject to disputed copy claims to remain online pending resolution applies only to its Content ID system.

More Digital

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content