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, 4 Aug 2012 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

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

    Did the ADA order Netflix to put subtitles? Did they specifically allow them to ignore copyright and do it? Nope. What is retarded is making an assumption that just isn't there.

    "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."

    Me, a moron? Are you kidding? If you took those subtitles and made a book out of them do you think you would be violating copyright? Netflix has the rights to the movie AS PROVIDED - can you show me where they licensed the script for subtitles?

    "But your damned MAFIAA refuses"

    Ahh, I was almost treating you like a smart guy, turns out you are just another Techdirt jackass with your head so far up your ass you can't even smell it when you fart. Too bad.

    Next time let Mike answer, you are too much of a jackass to bother with.

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