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. icon
    Ninja (profile), 3 Aug 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The ADA ruling isn't binding to Netflix. The ADA ruling wouldn't suddenly give Nexflix "fair use".

    You are a retard. It is binding, judicially binding. It's about two laws in conflict and yes it can be fair use.

    and at any rate is for the studios to fix, not a distributor.

    Except that your bosses aren't interested in fixing anything so far. The solution to their woes have been pointed ad nauseam.

    You are suggesting that what the characters say in the movie isn't a key part of the movie? Wow.

    No, you idiot. He's saying that the written subtitles are just part of the movie. You know, the actors won't suddenly go mute and the dialogs won't vanish if you add or strip subtitles. God you are a moron.

    Not directly, but it usurps the right holder's position to do this work and provide this with their product.

    Yes because they won't spend a penny if Netflix does the job so it's harming them financially. But I get your point, you want to make Netflix pay yet another type of license. Greedy moronic bastard.


    I would say that you would be LUCKY to get 2 out of 4 factors here, especially considering the ADA decision is not directed at Netflix or any other retail seller / lender of movies.


    Reading comprehension fail. As always.

    That might actually hurt the market, making it harder for others to sell or lend their copies, and perhaps causing a decrease in sales.

    Hint: there's demand for that. Offer that service. But your damned MAFIAA refuses to add value to the costumer. Hint2: if it's fair use for them to crowdsource subtitles and use then it is for you too. And honestly, fansubers do a better job than you.

    So yeah, I can see commercial harm possible here.

    I bet you also see green leprechauns, dead ppl and unicorns.

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