AfterDawn: Tech news

Court: Fan-made subtitles are illegal

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 15 Sep 2017 8:14 User comments (8)

Court: Fan-made subtitles are illegal In Sweden, a long-running court case against local subtitle download site has finally finished. Court decided that distributing subtitles to movies and TV series, even when the subtitles have been made by fans for free, is in deed, illegal.
Case was brought against Undertexter.se back in 2013 when police seized site's servers and case was filed against the site's owner Eugen Archy for breaking the copyright legislation.

Court had to decide on a case where the subtitles the site distributed, weren't actually ripped from the original DVDs, but rather, made by fans of the movie / TV series. Defendant claimed that the artwork called "movie" consisted just the audio and video tracks, but court didn't accept that. Court found that converting the audio track to written form, even when translated, still carried original movie's copyrights. Thus, distributing such material, breached the copyrights of the movie studio.

Archy has to pay 217'000SEK (about $28'000 or 22'800) in damages to the copyright holders.

Previous Next Write a comment

8 user comments

115.9.2017 12:30

I fail to understand why the film owners would even bother about this.


Newbie with Panasonic NV-BS60B
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.
There is anothe

215.9.2017 19:02

It is very simple. They want people to pay for their entertainment. What would you need external subtitles for if not pirated content? Very simple. I don't agree with it but it's not that hard to understand really.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Sep 2017 @ 19:02


316.9.2017 5:50

"What would you need external subtitles for if not pirated content?"

Another very simple alternative does not involve pirated material.

The film was never distributed in the language of the watcher. Arthouse, independent producers, low budget films are some examples.

When was the last time you saw a film distributed with every language in the world covered? I never have.


In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it.

Nigel Farage, Daily Mirror, 16.05.16

416.9.2017 10:41

Originally posted by HS114:
"What would you need external subtitles for if not pirated content?"

Another very simple alternative does not involve pirated material.

The film was never distributed in the language of the watcher. Arthouse, independent producers, low budget films are some examples.

When was the last time you saw a film distributed with every language in the world covered? I never have.
Totally ridiculous; the only time you need fan subs are when the company selling the film can't be bothered to make them. I've bought numerous titles that had no english at all because the fan subs were available. Those are additional sales they get without additional time/money investment.

If I had pirated them, then that is already illegal...if they come with fan subs it wouldn't magically make it OK or anything. Plus, they can't claim lost sales this way if they are not offering it in the target language. The whole point of these laws is to protect content; not to restrict who can appreciate it.

So...if this has any effect on piracy it will be to make it comparatively better. If it has any effect on sales it will be to reduce them. Plus it (once again) makes the content providers look like a**holes. I sort of hope this causes a spike in piracy; scumbags like this deserve nothing.

516.9.2017 11:20

Are you saying my reply is totally ridiculous? As you seem to be agreeing with me by the end.


In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it.

Nigel Farage, Daily Mirror, 16.05.16

616.9.2017 13:10

Must be fake news. Dont think its true.

716.9.2017 17:55

Another day, another bullshit court ruling to benefit the super rich.

819.9.2017 11:19

What a waste of time, taxpayer money and effort for something minuscule as this.

Comment this article

News archive