SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on television on May 1, 1999, almost exactly 23 years ago. A fact that probably makes you feel pretty old if you’ve been around since the show started. It’s also fitting that a fan project called SpongeBob SquarePants Rehydrated finally found its way this week. A recreation of the SpongeBob movie featuring the work of 300 different animators. However, in less time than it would have taken to watch the film, it was removed.
About an hour after Rehydrated was uploaded to YouTube, a tweet was posted from the film’s official Twitter account urging viewers not to refresh the page. Doing so would stop the film in its tracks and be replaced by a black screen with a message informing the viewer that the video was removed due to a copyright claim made by Paramount.
As now highlighted in the description of the movie on YouTube, SpongeBob SquarePants and all the IP that comes with it is owned by Viacom, hence the quick takedown when the movie was first released. That prompted those who have been waiting for this project from the start, and apparently many others who were hearing about it for the first time, to take action. If you were wondering why #JusticeForSpongeBob was trending on Twitter, well here’s why.
The campaign to revoke the copyright notice was successful. Rehydreated is now on YouTube in its entirety to watch right now. As for why its fans and creators so vehemently believed the takedown was unfair, even though Rehydrated is a remake of Viacom’s SpongeBob Movie, only one frame from the original movie is used. Even the voice acting in Rehydrated is completely original.
The project features several different animation styles and is a fitting tribute to Stephen Hillenburg. Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants and passed away in 2018, so before he could see hundreds of fellow creators working together to celebrate a world he envisioned more than two decades ago. Similar projects, such as Shrek Retold, have proven to be very successful in the past. As of this writing, Rehydrated has been viewed over 200,000 times.
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