N.Korea video removed over copyright spat: YouTube

YouTube said Thursday that a North Korean propaganda video showing New York City under attack had been removed from the site over a copyright complaint by the makers of the "Call of Duty" video game.

The snippet was "taken down by the user" after the complaint was filed by California-based Activision, the publisher behind the blockbuster military shooter video game franchise.

The video uploaded Saturday by North Korea's official website, Uriminzokkiri, was available long enough to catch the eyes of gamers, some of whom returned fire at YouTube.

A YouTube video titled "North Korea uses Call of Duty Footage in Propaganda" -- which presents a side-by-side comparison of the animated scenes -- had logged more than 6,400 views by Thursday.

"This is just sad," wrote a gamer in a chat forum beneath the comparison clip at YouTube. "Whoever made this in North Korea is extremely lazy."

Videogame lover Mitchell Kernot of California simply described it as "weird."

Activision did not respond to AFP requests for comment.

Activision Blizzard said in December that sales of the latest version of "Call of Duty" rocketed to the billion-dollar mark just 15 days after its release.

"Call of Duty: Black Ops 2" -- the sequel to an earlier Cold War-set episode in the franchise -- whisks players to a fictional 2025, in which a Nicaraguan militant is plotting to undermine US security.

The video posted by North Korea, which is poised to conduct a nuclear test, was shot as a dream sequence, with a young man seeing himself on board a North Korean space shuttle launched into orbit by the same type of rocket Pyongyang successfully tested in December.

As the shuttle circles the globe -- to the tune of "We Are the World" -- the video zooms in on countries below, including a joyfully re-unified Korea.

The focus then switches to a city -- shrouded in the US flag -- under apparent missile attack with its skyscrapers, including what appears to be the Empire State Building, either on fire or in ruins.

"Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing," ran the caption across the screen of the removed video.

The video ends with the young man concluding that his dream will "surely come true."

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