Copyright when making references?
Thread poster: Jonathan Zylberstein

Jonathan Zylberstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
Member (2012)
English to Swedish
Oct 14, 2012

Yes, so I've quite recently started with subtitling. Series, to be precise. As we all probably know, a good subtitler should know what kind of references work well in your market, and which ones do not. Sometimes, these references might be, for instance, songs that are sung for whatever reason. These very same songs do not always work well in your own source language, but surely you want to emulate these kinds of references now and then yourself to make your translation look neat!

This brings me to my question. Where do I, as a subtitling sole trader, stand on this? Am I allowed to enter a line or two from those famous songs in my childhood in my subtitles?

[Edited at 2012-10-14 22:16 GMT]


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:38
Chinese to English
Law isn't very clear but it doesn't look good Oct 14, 2012

"the conventional wisdom for fiction authors is not to quote copyrighted song lyrics whatsoever in their work unless they have obtained express permission from the copyright holder."

Fair Use or Fair Dealing
No broad statutory limitation of “fair use” or “fair dealing.”"

Check with a lawyer first.


Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
German to Swedish
+ ...
And Oct 15, 2012

Yes, check with a lawyer.
(But... what jurisdiction would be involved in such a case for your subtitling? Perhaps not so easy to answer.)

As for Sweden, I believe very minor portions of copyrighted work may be used in own work that has "verkshöjd". Otherwise collages, for instance, would be impossible.

I'd be extremely surprised if there is Swedish legal precedent that makes it impossible to, say, bring in a couple of words of Astrid Lindgren into the hundreds of subtitles of a half-hour film.

[Bearbeitet am 2012-10-15 17:43 GMT]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Copyright when making references?

Advanced search

Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search