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 @ 8:06am

    i hope it gets sued now for making sub titles available. perhaps then, a case can go to court over the whole issue because, basically, Netflix is damned already because it didn't, then would be damned if it did. it goes to show, yet again, how totally screwed up the whole copyright/file sharing debacles are. as for those punished either in or out of court for putting their own crowd sourced subs on the net, it's a typical 'i wont do it, i dont want to do it and therefore i'm not going to let anyone else do it either' attitude from the entertainment industries. the only thing they are consistently good at is fucking up things for others, even when having no interest, as usual, in supplying what is wanted, asked for or needed to make the experience of watching one of their own media files better! what tossers!!

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