from the not-being-directly-monetized-by-us?-that's-a-raiding dept
The uneasy relationship between rights holders and fan translations just took another hit. Although there have been a few exceptions that recognize the value fan translations provide, the general response has been to shut down translation/subbing sites, even if they're not making any infringing material available.
A Swedish translation site has been shut down by rights holders, this time with the cooperation of local law enforcement.
According to a local report, servers and computers belonging to the owners of Undertexter (which means "subtitle" in Swedish) have been seized by police. In a statement on Facebook, the Undertexter folks note that their service is powered completely by fan-made translations provided for free. And, remember, we're talking about people sharing their own text translations for movies and shows they watched, not sharing the videos themselves.Rather than view this service, provided for free by fans avid enough to spend their spare time translating movies and TV shows, as an indicator of an untapped market, the industry has chosen to assert its control. And rather than handle it in a fashion more suited to the level of "criminal" activity being performed, it instead chose to utilize a compliant police force to carry out a full-blown raid.
The crackdown just shows how powerful the copyright industry is in Sweden. As Rick Falkvinge writes, "In Sweden, the copyright industry can legally order police raids. They are called intrångsundersökning and are technically executed by the Enforcement Authority who enlist Police in turn."Falkvinge points out more in his post, calling this action a "clear escalation of violence." The Swedish copyright industry has previously asserted that any fan translation would automatically be infringing as it owns the rights to the dialog, but had previously asserted its rights without resorting to raids by law enforcement.
Despite this show of force, the crew of Undertexter.se remains defiant.
Undertexter.se has had a police raid this morning (July 9) and servers and computers have been seized, and therefore, the site is down. We who work on the site don't consider an interpretation of dialog to be something illegal, especially not when sharing it for free. Henrik Pontén [the copyright industry's primary henchman in Sweden], who is behind the raid, disagrees. Sorry Hollywood, this was the totally wrong card to play. We will never surrender. [...] We must do everything in our power to stop these anti-pirates. [...]Somehow, the industry seems to believe that its failure to capture a market should give it exclusive control over the area not being served. If that means no translated movies, so be it. There's a wealth of free labor going into something that could be viewed as a value-added product, but viewing it through the stupidity-inducing lens of IP protection has rendered these translations "worthless" at best and a "threat" at worst in the eyes of the industry.