SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on TV on May 1, 1999, so almost exactly 23 years ago. A factoid that likely makes you feel pretty old if you've been around since the show began. It's also fitting that a fan project dubbed SpongeBob SquarePants Rehydrated finally found its way out into the wild this week. A recreation of the SpongeBob movie featuring work from 300 different animators. However, in less time than it would have taken to watch the movie, it was removed.
About an hour after Rehydrated had been uploaded to YouTube, a tweet was published from the movie's official Twitter account urging those watching to not refresh the page. Doing so would stop the movie in its tracks and be replaced with a black screen sporting a message informing the viewer the video had been taken down due to a copyright claim made by Paramount.
As is now highlighted in the description for the movie on YouTube, SpongeBob SquarePants and all of the IP that comes with it is owned by Viacom, hence the prompt takedown when the movie first went live. That led those who have been waiting for this project since the get-go, and seemingly a lot of others who were hearing about it for the first time, to take action. If you were wondering why #JusticeForSpongeBob was trending on Twitter, well, this is why.
The campaign to get the copyright notice reveresed was a success. Rehydreated is already back up on YouTube in its entirety to watch right now. As for why its fans and creators believed so vehemently that the takedown was an unfair one, even though Rehydrated is a remake of Viacom's SpongeBob movie, just a single frame of the original film is used. Even the voice acting in Rehydrated is completely original.
The project features various different animation styles and is a fitting tribute to Stephen Hillenburg. Hillenburg created SpongeBob and passed away in 2018, so before he could see hundreds of fellow creators working together to celebrate a world he thought up more than two decades ago. Similar projects, such as Shrek Retold, have proved to be hugely successful in the past. At the time of writing this, Rehydrated has been watched more than 200,000 times.
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