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...

Filed Under: copyright, crowdsourcing, subtitles
Companies: netflix


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2012 @ 7:59am

    Does That AC have a mission to disrupt all sensible discussions ?

    I don't know about the others regularly checking TD's posts comment threads.

    My impression was first that opposition from AC could have the benefit of the needle preventing self-indulgence consensus. Props for the persistence to that respect Mr. AC.

    Problem it now appears to me as mostly aimed at parasiting any attempt of fruitful dialog on the theme set by a given post that may come up in the thread. Motivated by a kind of personal vendetta, a particularly obsessive behavior, or simply a commissioned work is almost irrelevant.

    So Mr. AC, would you mind provide a view on the matter raised by the post. E.G. What's the risk for Netflix to be sued here under current system and with the current players?in your opinion. Are they doing it right ?

    Obviously not asking for a prospective view of how the system should evolve, as you playground is strictly on how things are today in the letter of the law, with players defending their absolute immaterial "property".

    The funny thing is I would find it truely interesting to have that analysis from an IP maximalist on the gien situation. And why not, bring some actual sense of reality into us poor padawans.

    Please stop whining, stop the disruptive controversy, personal attacks and bring it on with actual analysis.

    TIA.

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