Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, crowdsourcing, subtitles

Companies:
netflix



Netflix To Try Crowdsourcing Subtitles; Will It Get Sued For Infringement?

from the rock-and-a-copyright-law dept

Before getting into the details of this new story, let me bring up a pair of recent Techdirt stories as background. First, there's the story of Netflix being told that not having closed captioning on its streaming movies means it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. As we noted at the time, this raised interesting copyright questions, considering that Netflix may not be legally allowed to put captions on videos. A few days before that, we had written about a student who ran a site that provided crowdsourced downloadable subtitle files for TV and movies, and had been found guilty of copyright infringement.

Knowing both those things, isn't it interesting that Netflix is now experimenting with crowdsourcing captioning/subtitles for films and TV shows? Perhaps it figures that having lost that first legal fight, it should lean in the other direction and see if it gets sued there as well. Either way, it seems like it opens up some pretty serious copyright questions. While some of us think that providing captions/subtitles should be pretty clear fair use, others (obviously) disagree. And, when it's an operation like Netflix -- which is obviously a commercial entity -- you have to wonder if it's going to get sued...

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  1. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 3 Aug 2012 @ 7:49am

    Alphabet Soup

    The fact that closed captions and subtitles are very pervasive with pre-recorded media and cable and OTA broadcasts is one of the weak point of streaming services.

    If you are using any similar product, you've already got the caption data. You can create a better experience in this regard yourself. You can just use the readily available raw data and associated tools.

    This all ties back to the ADA.

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