It’s really interesting to know that the majority of LLN users are learning English!
I had assumed the legal side wouldn’t be an issue since LLN wouldn’t provide or endorse the use of any specific subtitle files, but I don’t know anything about this, and I understand why caution is important.
With the anime, it doesn’t seem to be a matter of old/new. Taking examples from my list above, Food Wars was released in 2015 (latest season released in 2020), yet dual subs are not available in any one location. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (which I believe is pre-2000s) does offer dual subs without a VPN. (There are plenty of other examples to choose from.)
But I know that wasn’t really your point. From what I understand, it’s a question of who the affected LLN users are, how widespread the problem is now, and how likely it is to be a problem in the future.
It’s enough of a problem to affect me, and probably other Japanese learners, though I know that doesn’t mean much. We probably represent a very small proportion of users. It would be interesting to know how much it affects users studying other non-English languages.
I speculate that it’s likely that it’ll be an ongoing problem for non-English subs. The demand for English subtitles is generally going to be high enough for Netflix to consistently make sure they’re available, but I’m not convinced that’s true of non-English subtitles. LLN relies on the right subtitles being available, and I think there is a certain appeal to LLN not having to rely on Netflix to provide those subtitles. I wonder if English is the most popular target language for LLN users in part because it’s harder to use LLN to learn other languages (though I’m sure that the biggest factor is just interest in English). I think it would be amazing if LLN could be used to learn any language, so long as subtitles in that language exist somewhere on the internet. Someone could, for example, study Korean by watching Marvel films (assuming they find the subs).
That said, everything in that last paragraph was just a guess. I understand more needs to be known before deciding to implement anything, and that there are many other things the developers could be doing with their time. For my use case, LLN is already possibly the best tool around for language learning, and I’m very grateful to be able to use it free of charge. This feature is the only thing I feel is obviously missing, but I’m sure other people feel the same way about other features.