Fansubs for TV shows and movies are illegal, court rules

From Ars Technica

Fansubbing—the unofficial creation of fan-made subtitles for TV shows and movies—is illegal, a Dutch court ruled this week.

The Free Subtitles Foundation, after coming under fire from the Netherlands’ anti-piracy association BREIN, decided to raise some money and take BREIN to court. The Foundation’s lawyer told TorrentFreak that the lawsuit sought to clarify whether the creators of a TV show or movie can reserve the right to create and distribute subtitles.

And indeed, that’s exactly what the court ruled: that subtitles can only be created and distributed with permission from the rights holders. Doing so without permission is copyright infringement, and thus punishable with either jail time or a fine, depending on where you live.

Subtitle downloads are hugely popular on the Internet: there are thousands of websites that offer free subtitle files for TV shows and movies. Sometimes those subtitles are ripped from the original stream or disc, but…

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