Since it would be an impossible task for most of us to learn every single language out there, this means that when it comes to watching foreign movies and TV shows, subtitles made by fans are a lifesaver. However it seems that fan subtitles are considered illegal, or at least that’s according to a recent ruling by a Dutch court.
A Dutch group calling themselves the Free Subtitles Foundation have recently taken anti-piracy group BREIN to court. The group claims that BREIN has been active in taking down fan subtitles and translations offline, and it seems that they were counting on the courts to take their side in terms of fair usage.
Unfortunately it seems that the courts did not see it that way, and have ruled against them. What this means, as far as the Netherlands is concerned, is that making subtitles for shows without the permission of the copyright holder is tantamount to copyright infringement. It is possible that this ruling could set a precedent in future cases in other parts of the world.
That being said if you are a subber and would like your work to be appreciated, Netflix has recently launched an initiative to recruit translators for its shows. YouTube is also doing the same by turning to the community to crowdsource its translations, so those are some alternatives you could look at.
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