I am almost entirely dependent on captioning to understand recorded media. I can only watch TV and movies with captions. I don’t go to movies in theaters. I can’t listen to the radio. I can’t listen to podcasts.
As you might imagine, I am positively thrilled to learn that there’s an organization out there threatening legal action against organizations that don’t provide captions or transcriptions.
I just have a brief note about strategy that I hope this group will take under advisement.
You seem to be focused on threatening small volunteer organizations providing free content to a niche audience, like ASIS&T and Boxes and Arrows. If your goal is to prevent hardworking volunteers like Jeff Parks from creating audio recordings at conferences, mission accomplished! Why, if we can’t have it, no one can!
Since you’ve got money to spend on lawsuits, please let me suggest some alternatives that would have a more meaningful impact on the world:
- File suit against Netflix for not providing captions on the vast majority of their streaming movies—and for not providing any way to find streaming movies that are captioned. Netflix is particularly hostile to hearing-impaired customers, refusing to provide customer service via any channel other than the phone.
- File suit against Apple for not providing captioning for television shows downloaded from the iTunes store. While you’re at it, sue the pants off of them for the abysmal selection of captioned movies they offer. It’s criminal.
- Hire a team of lawyers to go after all the television networks that provide captioning in their broadcasts, but not on shows streamed via their websites or Hulu. (You’re going to need a big team of lawyers, because it’s most of the networks.)
- Hire the most vicious lawyer you can find to go after any movie studio that “accidentally” or on purpose removes the captions from the rental release of a DVD.
The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, signed by President Obama on October 8, 2010, is a landmark piece of legislation, updating the 20-year-old Americans With Disabilities Act for the internet age. This bill requires captioning of television programs on the internet, as well as many other requirements that will enable the 36 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans to fully enjoy media delivered via the internet.
I’m glad to hear you’ve got money to spend helping to enforce this legislation. How about you leave the IA Institute alone, and focus on getting us some captions on streaming video from Netflix?