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
    PaulT (profile), 3 Aug 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh dear, you really don't know how to handle a conversation, do you?

    Anyway, ignoring your idiotic insults, your first comment said "the words of the script" are the same as the subtitles. This - to anybody who's actually read subtitles - is wrong. Quite often, for reasons of readability, brevity and the like, the subtitles on screen may not be the same as the words spoken in the film. The original script will also differ due to improvisation on set, editing and so forth, and will contain far more than just the words spoken by the characters. You can't download a subtitle file and use it as a replacement for the film. You'd struggle to follow the whole of Glengarry Glen Ross from the subtitles words alone, let alone the average blockbuster.

    So, no, you were wrong and trying to mock me doesn't change reality.

    You can't even get this simply concept correct, and yet you expect the rest of us to believe you when arguing more complicated issues? Please. That's not even going into the more obvious stupid points here, such as the fact that absolutely nobody would download a subtitle file instead of watching a film, and there's no logical reason why such a file from the DVD would not be supplied to Netflix in the first place.

    But, go ahead, be a dickhead and see how many opinions you can sway by lying, distorting and acting like a jackass. If it's greater than zero, I'll give you a cookie like the 6 year old you try to imitate during these arguments.

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