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posted by Fnord666 on Monday March 26 2018, @06:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the subtitles-provided-by-no-one dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow3941

The founder of a site that provided fan-created subtitles has lost his appeal against a conviction for copyright infringement. In 2017 a Swedish court found that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime, sentencing the then 32-year-old to probation and a fine. The Court of Appeal has now largely upheld that earlier verdict.

Source: https://torrentfreak.com/founder-of-fan-made-subtitle-site-lose-copyright-infringement-appeal-180318/


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  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday March 26 2018, @06:51PM (12 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 26 2018, @06:51PM (#658584)

    > sentencing the then 32-year-old to probation and a fine

    Copyright infringement should be punishable by Death, painful Death and more excruciating Death, with a possible leniency plea of one life sentence per sentence.
    Wimpy Swedes ! No wonder nobody watches your movies, only your wordless assembly instructions.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26 2018, @07:38PM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26 2018, @07:38PM (#658610)

    Why do you people spend all your time fighting these worthless battles?

    Spend your time/resources on something else; quit devoting your lives to these corporate-owned assets.

    Make your own goddamn stuff.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26 2018, @08:08PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26 2018, @08:08PM (#658627)

      Clueless person is clueless, watches society collapse sitting in their lawn chair saying "not my fault!"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26 2018, @09:00PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26 2018, @09:00PM (#658657)

        Well, what else would you have us do about the collapse of society?

        It really is best to find something that one enjoys and focus on that.

        You think you have some say in what the ruling class does?

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 26 2018, @10:54PM (1 child)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 26 2018, @10:54PM (#658689) Journal

          Well, what else would you have us do about the collapse of society?

          Make your contribution felt, do something constructive! I don't know... for example make some Molotov bottles.

          (grin)

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday March 27 2018, @01:23AM

            by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday March 27 2018, @01:23AM (#658737)

            I'm buying stocks of brooms and windows.
            Whoever wins the fight, someone's getting paid to clean up the shit.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Pino P on Tuesday March 27 2018, @01:35PM (6 children)

      by Pino P (4721) on Tuesday March 27 2018, @01:35PM (#658956) Journal

      Make your own goddamn stuff.

      If I do take your advice to make my own GD stuff, what steps should I take to verify that my own GD stuff doesn't infringe copyright in any of the GD stuff that already exists? See, for example, the "My Sweet Lord" case (Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27 2018, @01:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27 2018, @01:58PM (#658970)

        Just stay away from Chicago and hope nobody lets Larry Hoover out.

      • (Score: 2) by darnkitten on Tuesday March 27 2018, @06:29PM (4 children)

        by darnkitten (1912) on Tuesday March 27 2018, @06:29PM (#659076)

        Mate--there's plenty of examples better to make your point than that one--the connection was obvious the first time I heard it, back in grade school. If George and his band hadn't been stoned out of their minds, one of 'em (at least) would've realized where the melody came from in time to secure the rights. "Subconscious plagiarism," indeed.

        That said, I'd rather listen to My Sweet Lord than hear He's So Fine any day of the week...

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Arik on Tuesday March 27 2018, @06:58PM (3 children)

          by Arik (4543) on Tuesday March 27 2018, @06:58PM (#659087) Journal
          "If George and his band hadn't been stoned out of their minds, one of 'em (at least) would've realized where the melody came from"

          There are only 7 notes in traditional European scales, 5 notes in widely used pentatonics, 12 in the chromatic scale but it's very difficult to use more than 7 in any given piece, and in fact nearly all use fewer than 5.

          Songs are generally considered to require two notes - a single note droned might accompany a chant but it's not not really a song.

          Most folk or popular songs, in terms of the main, recognizable motif (the bit that was supposedly copied here) are built from these notes, and most typically using only 3 of them, occasionally 4. That's a finite (very small) number of notes to work with, and in practice most of the possible combinations sound awful. So it's actually very, very easy for a musician to 'copy' common songs of the past without any need to have heard them played, even once. Teach an interested child any instrument at all, and after they master the basics of sound production you'll find they start spontaneously playing recognizable bits of lots of songs - sometimes ones they have never heard. They aren't copying. They're just arranging the elements they know in different ways to hear the results.

          And all of the possible combinations that sound good (and many that don't) have been used many, many times already. The only thing that makes it even possible to write a pop song that does NOT infringe copyright is that copyright used to expire, but as we all know, that's not really true anymore.

          --
          If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
          • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Wednesday March 28 2018, @02:49AM (2 children)

            by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Wednesday March 28 2018, @02:49AM (#659310) Journal

            There are only 7 notes in traditional European scales, 5 notes in widely used pentatonics, 12 in the chromatic scale but it's very difficult to use more than 7 in any given piece, and in fact nearly all use fewer than 5.

            "Nearly all use fewer than 5"?? That's absolutely false. Without using the internet, I dare you to come up with even 10 songs with FEWER than five distinct notes -- that is, only up to four notes. There are very few common songs that meet that criteria.

            You're right that standard pop music and folk songs often use 5 to 7 notes in their scales. But it's certainly not "very difficult" to use more. Let's set aside most of classical music, which often has pieces using all 12 chromatic notes (and almost all pieced use at least 8 or 9). Jazz traditions, Tin Pan Alley, Broadway showtunes, even most "old standards" of American popular song before the rock era tended to use more than 7 notes. It's not difficult -- it's just different stylistically.

            Of course, you're right that there are a limited number of recognizable short motives in standard scales using only a few notes. But copyright law properly applied shouldn't find infringement for short motives any more than a novelist should be found guilty of infringement for begining a story with "Once upon a time." It's easy to write a song that's sort of similar to another, but it's also pretty easy to make it distinctive with minimal effort... Even with only 5-7 note scales.

            • (Score: 2) by Arik on Wednesday March 28 2018, @04:20AM

              by Arik (4543) on Wednesday March 28 2018, @04:20AM (#659338) Journal
              "That's absolutely false."

              No, it's not. The main motif of virtually every popular song is built using 3 or 4 notes. Are other notes sounded incidentally during performance? Of course, in all but the sparsest arrangement they will be - but a super-sparse arrangement does not in any way get you off the copyright hook.

              "Without using the internet, I dare you to come up with even 10 songs with FEWER than five distinct notes -- that is, only up to four notes."

              10 off the top of my head is a bit much to ask, even as easy as they are to come up with, but I'll humor you with an example off the top of my head.

              Van Morrison - "Brown Eyed Girl" comes to mind because I was having fun figuring a little of it out just the other day. And the gist of that song is four notes, 1, 4, 5, and 6, in the correct time. Yes, any decent performance of the song will have a lot more, there is an absolutely brilliant intro at the beginning (that almost no one plays when they cover it) and lots of subtle garnishes - but no matter how badly you play it, skip the intro, don't try to capture any subtleties, it's still recognizably that song. You don't even need to try to sing it, you could play that on a kazoo or with one finger on a piano and it still sounds like Brown Eyed Girl.

              Now can you give one example? One example of a popular or folk tune built around a motif using more than 5 distinct notes? I'm sure there are a few but they're quite rare. I'm not talking about garnishes I'm talking about the guts of the tune - the minimum skeleton of it that you'll hear people hum, the recognizable core that a performer garnishes and embellishes to show his skill.

              "Let's set aside most of classical music"

              Yes, let's, it's an entirely different beast.

              As is Jazz. Jazz is not in any sense pop or folk music, despite it's origins, it hasn't been that for decades.

              "But copyright law properly applied"

              Isn't that extinct?

              Now, to be clear, I'm not saying that equivalence at the basic skeletal level I'm talking about, all by itself, is enough to get you found liable for copyright infringement. If there is absolutely no other resemblance between your song and the song owned by the plaintiff other than that, no resemblance in the lyrics, all the garnishes different, different style, different instrumentation, you can probably get away with that, where 'get away with that' is defined as not ultimately lose the case. You still might get sued and have to pay a lawyer though. And, more importantly, if you're trying to make a living with your music online, you can get 'taken down' without even having that opportunity to defend yourself. Take downs are often generated by robots submitted to robots and acted upon by robots with no human being, let alone a highly educated expert in music law, let alone an actual court, ever verifying them. This is only gaining speed, and it's a real danger.

              But forget about that, what could cause you to lose a copyright suit? Well, having the same basic skeletal structure as the song you're being sued for is strike one. We just need to add a couple more strikes, give or take, to get a judge on our side. And what if, rather than totally different lyrics instrumentation and style, both songs are done in similar styles, with similar instrumentation? Well you're probably going to have lots more similarities at that point, just implied by those facts, they're likely to be graced and harmonized similarly as well. And let's not pretend there is all that much room for variance in lyrics here either, there are a few themes that are repeated endlessly, so why would we not expect to find some sort of similarity there?

              I think it's a lot harder than you appreciate to write something truly new, or even just something not copyright infringing. As robots are used to match larger libraries, more and more hits will be found, more and more of the back-catalog will be dug up and dusted off and digitized - not to offer it to sale, but to train the robots looking for infringement - and as a result it's only going to get harder to sing or play anything that isn't at least confusingly similar with something in a record company catalog.
              --
              If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
            • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Thursday March 29 2018, @03:30PM

              by Pino P (4721) on Thursday March 29 2018, @03:30PM (#660007) Journal

              It's not difficult -- it's just different stylistically.

              The case law defining copying doesn't require the prior work and the infringing work to be identical, just "substantially similar". If two melodic hooks differ only in ornaments, such as grace notes or momentary chromaticity, the plaintiff's better-funded lawyers will probably persuade a jury to find them similar.

              Of course, you're right that there are a limited number of recognizable short motives in standard scales using only a few notes. But copyright law properly applied shouldn't find infringement for short motives

              The motive at issue in the Bright Tunes case was Sol~ Mi~ Re~, Sol La Do' La Do' Do', where ~ represents a long note. That was long enough for a finding of liability. Is this more than "short motives"? Or was copyright law improperly applied in that case?