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Monday, October 29, 2012

Netflix Illegally Used Illegal Subtitles

As a matter of fact, it turned out that content being used in Finland by Netflix was illegally using subtitles stolen from some enthusiast group.

The Finnish subscribers using Netflix last week discovered that the content was provided along with the subtitles that had been created by some movies and TV-series enthusiast amateur outfit called DivX Finland. The group in question shares the subtitles on the Internet for free, but specifies in the license terms that the use of the texts for commercial purposes is not allowed.

Surprisingly enough, it turned out that the subtitles were illegally used by the outfit which had legal content but couldn’t understand the language the film is in, just like pirates. According to Jarmo Hakala from DivX Finland, the group was pleased that their subtitles were accepted by a large content provider, but pointed out that Netflix really should have asked for their permission first. Hakala admitted he was mostly amused and confirmed that he would undoubtedly have given permission if the company had asked. However, there are others in the content industry who are miffed and believe that Netflix owes them money for using the illegal subtitles.

Antti Kotilainen, the executive director of Copyright Information and Control of Finland, claimed that the whole situation didn’t matter, because the efforts of the enthusiasts were themselves illegal. In other words, it was just a matter of entertainment industry stealing from a thief.

In the meantime, Copyright Information and Control reminded that the local Copyright Act allows the translation for private use, but not for open online distribution.

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