[A2k] U.S. drama producers sue illegal subtitle makers

Heesob Nam hurips at gmail.com
Tue Jul 1 06:15:28 PDT 2014


Six U.S. television drama producers took legal action against a group
of Koreans responsible for creating the subtitles of popular U.S. soap
operas available online without getting the permission from the
original producers.

On Sunday, police said that the U.S. broadcasters, including Warner
Bros and 20th Century Fox, hired a local law firm and sued 15 Internet
users responsible for subtitling of their dramas without their

Under the law, subtitles are considered a secondary creation and
consequently protected by copyright laws.

People who make subtitles without permission from the original authors
or producers can be given a five-year jail term or fined up to 50
million won.

Police are now questioning the 15 who were booked without physical detention.

Investigators said they made Korean subtitles of American television
dramas and movies without getting prior consent from the original
producers and circulated their translations among Internet users
through large online cafes.

A police officer said on condition of anonymity that U.S. television
drama producers tend not to exercise their copyrights if individual
citizens violate the law.

But, he said, the U.S. producers took legal action against illegal
subtitle makers as they believed that the violators circulated their
subtitles rapidly through the Internet and as a result the original
producers experienced negative fallout on their earnings.

The officer went on to say that a cable broadcast, which has aired
U.S. dramas, held an emergency meeting recently after experiencing
income loss following dwindling viewer ratings because of the massive
spread of subtitled dramas on the Internet.

"Professional translators were also hit hard by the subtitle makers. I
understand that the U.S. television drama producers took legal action
against them to issue a warning to end such an illegal practice rather
than making money through an out-of-court settlement fee," he said.

Industry watchers say Korean drama producers are now taking the
illegal subtitle issue seriously and are moving toward restricting
people from making subtitles without their permission.


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