Saturday, May 19, 2007

Police target Polish subtitle archive

In a nice reminder from the entertainment industry that a lot more than just a motion picture itself is subject to copyright, German and Polish police have arrested several administrators and translators for a popular Polish site that offers user-generated subtitles. was the target of the Police raid and several computers were seized as part of the investigation.

The administrators have been charged with copyright infringement, even though apparently it was the site's users that did the translations. Under Polish law, translators need permission from content providers before working on copyright material. The head of claims that "the idea of the service is noncommercial" and may fall under some fair use rights.

There is good reason for Polish subtitles to be translated and offered like this; many official Polish translations don't become available until months after a major film has been released and some users simply don't want to have to wait that long. The downloaded subtitles can be played back when paired with a DVDRip which can of course come from a legitimate source but the movie industry will probably not acknowledge that fact.

The claim will soon be tested in court.