Report: Polish police raid homes of rogue movie subtitlers

According to online reports, police in at least four cities in Poland have arrested a number of people in a copyright infringement crackdown. The raids are said to have been coordinated with German police, and a Polish anti-piracy group associated with the recording industry.

What's weirdest about the raids, though, is that they targeted people who subtitle movies:

In Krakow, Slask, Podlasie, and Szczecin, police arrived at the suspected subtitlers' homes at 6 a.m. – and took them into custody.
The story first appeared on the Polish Linux site, which states that "According to Polish copyright law any 'processing' of others' content including translating is prohibited without permission." Newspaper accounts report that the detained subtitlers face two years in jail if they're convicted of illegally publishing copyrighted material – presumably including translated movie dialogue.


Assuming the reports are accurate — there's no direct reporting available from sources I know and trust — I wonder if there's a a connection with recent news that the Bush administration recently put Poland on a copyright "priority watch list," threatening economic sanctions if law enforcement in Poland did not take more forceful action against infringement. Snip:

China, Russia and 10 other nations were targeted by the Bush administration for failing to sufficiently protect American producers of music, movies and other copyrighted material from widespread piracy.

The Bush administration on Monday placed the 12 countries on a "priority watch list" which will subject them to extra scrutiny and could eventually lead to economic sanctions if the administration decides to bring trade cases before the World Trade Organization.


Reader comment: W. James Au, Games Editor, says:

I was in Warsaw and Krakow a few months ago, and during primetime the television stations were running top American TV shows without subtitles– instead, they'd turned the native audio track way down; instead, all you heard was some dude translating the action and dialog in Polish. It was pretty weird and unsatisfying having to watch "Lost" without hearing the music, or the sound effects, or even the dialog, so I'd say the rogue subtitlers are providing an important service.