Netflix seeks permission to appeal order to comply with ADA

, The National Law Journal

   | 4 Comments

Netflix Inc. asked a federal judge in Massachusetts for permission to appeal his ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires the company to provide closed-captioning text for its web-only streaming video.

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What's being said

  • Evelyn

    Thank you for your comment Hilary. As one who works closely with many in the Deaf Population, this equal access to information is critically important. Over twenty five years ago, we were actively involved and instrumental in captions being provided for deaf passengers and captions being included in television ads. The opinion at the time was "deaf people don't watch television". Those of us close to the Deaf Culture are aware that the MAJORITY are very concerned about equal access. Those who are not aware of this are not in touch with the Deaf Community. I also find it upsetting that the litigation cost could have provided addition jobs for those who are skilled in captioning. Speech to text is NOT a satisfactory option. This technology is in its infancy - - creating garbled and confusing captions. Anyone who believes this is 'no big deal' would feel differently if their own rights to equal access were denied.

  • Evelyn

    Thank you for your comment Hilary. As one who works closely with many in the Deaf Population, this equal access to information is critically important. Over twenty five years ago, we were actively involved and instrumental in captions being provided for deaf passengers and captions being included in television ads. The opinion at the time was "deaf people don't watch television". Those of us close to the Deaf Culture are aware that the MAJORITY are very concerned about equal access. Those who are not aware of this are not in touch with the Deaf Community. I also find it upsetting that the litigation cost could have provided addition jobs for those who are skilled in captioning. Speech to text is NOT a satisfactory option. This technology is in its infancy - - creating garbled and confusing captions. Anyone who believes this is 'no big deal' would feel differently if their own rights to equal access were denied.

  • Hilary Mayhew

    The original requirements for closed captioning (over 20 years ago) were not enacted in the interest of "preposterously PC" purposes, but in support of the belief that access to information is a crucial part of being an equal citizen, that an educated citizenry is for the public good, and that people with disabilities have the same rights to that information as all other citizens.
    In 2012, I would hope we still hold those values. Now that a significant amount of media is produced or broadcast only on the web, without first being shown on television, lack of captioning on internet content has eroded the access that the ADA intended and fought to gain. (As an aside, the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community is not the only group benefited by captioning. Captioning has also been shown to improve literacy skills & comprehension for children, English-language-learners, & those with learning disabilities. http://deafness.about.com/od/captioning/a/captionbenefits.htm)

    The legal grounds may be complex, but the principle is simple: In 2012, information has moved online, so our regulations about access to information need to move as well.
    It is disappointing that Netflix and other content creators/providers have to be held accountable by lawsuits, rather than just investing possibly a fraction of the time & money they are spending fighting this case in order to make their business model profitable *and* accessible. This lawsuit was not NAD's first contact with Netflix, but was a recourse in the face of Netflix's refusal to come to the table.

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    The drag that such preposterously PC litigation asserts on the U.S. economy is, in part, why we can't begin to produce enough new jobs to keep up with population growth much less lure back to the labor market millions of long-term unemployed individuals who've simply quit looking for work. Surely these radical plaintiffs and their activist attorneys don't speak for the majority of America's hearing impaired or other disabled citizens. So, for the sake of the nation, that silent majority must now assert itself and publicly work to rein in those who do such harm.

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