Greenpeace’s viral video, “LEGO: Everything Is NOT Awesome,” released earlier this week, has apparently been suspended by YouTube due to a copyright claim from Warner Brothers. The environmental organization quickly transferred the film to Vimeo and strongly defended the work as a piece of satire that highlights a subject of significant public interest.
The film, made by BAFTA-winning creative agency Don’t Panic, reached over three million views in less than three days. It depicts the Arctic, made of LEGO, being destroyed by an oil spill caused by partner Shell’s drilling in the region.
“Our film was designed as a creative way of letting people know about the threat to the Arctic from Shell and the role LEGO has in the story,” said Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Ian Duff. “LEGO says it wants to leave a better world for children, yet it’s partnered with Shell, one of the biggest climate polluters on the planet, now threatening the pristine Arctic. We’re saying it’s time for LEGO to finally pull the plug on this deal. We’re calling on LEGO to stand up for Arctic protection, and for children, by ditching Shell for good.”
Greenpeace says it intends to challenge the copyright claim, which is expected to take roughly 10 days to resolve under YouTube regulations. It will argue the video uses satire and parody, is in the public interest, and thus protected under the right to free speech. According to a YouTube search there are 772 other videos on the site that use the “Everything Is Awesome” song and many more that depict characters from The LEGO Movie.
Greenpeace has been subject to copyright claims in the past. A campaign video depicting Star Wars characters was pulled down but later reinstated after Greenpeace successfully challenged the claim.
Despite its dealings with Shell, LEGO has made impressive commitments to increasing its own sustainability: In December, the toy maker began partnering with WWF in an effort to reduce emissions throughout its supply chain and become net positive through the use of renewables by 2016. And in February, the company committed to find a sustainable alternative to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), the plastic resin used in its signature blocks, by 2030.