VRT, the Flemish-Belgian public TV channel, has removed a parody of a scene in the film “Schindler’s List” after Universal Studios asserted their copyright in the film. Universal were prompted to take action by the NGOs Hetz and IMPAC with legal support from UKLFI.
The Belgian Flemish TV channel had screened a supposedly comic sketch making fun of an anticipated shortage of Cent Wafers after the factory making them in Ukraine was bombed. The sketch, called “Schindler’s Shopping List”, presented Oskar Schindler as blaming a Jewish child for taking the last pack of Cent Wafers and establishing a factory making biscuits called “Schindler’s Jodenkoeken B.V.” In a final scene, Jews place Cent Wafers on Schindler’s grave in Israel.
Following complaints, VRT removed the sketch from its social media, but retained the full programme, including the sketch, on its website.
Belgian NGO, IMPAC, then drew the issue to the attention of Hetz and UKLFI. UKLFI advised that the sketch infringed copyright in the award-winning film and was not protected by the parody defence under EU law as interpreted by the EU Court of Justice in Case C-201/13 Deckmyn. Hetz took up the issue with a contact at Universal which asserted its copyright and required VRT to remove the offending sketch from its website and all other media. VRT complied, removing the sketch from all media.