Updates from NAD
* What Does the Recent NAD vs. Netflix Precedent Mean?
* The NAD Advocates for Access to Quality Captioning
* The NAD Leads the Way for Accessible Closed Captioning Controls
What Does the Recent NAD vs. Netflix Precedent Mean?
View Announcement and Vlog from NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum
A year ago, the National Association of the Deaf, along with other
parties, filed a lawsuit against Netflix for refusing to caption their
“Watch Instantly” streaming service, denying equal access to deaf and
hard of hearing individuals. Soon after NAD filed suit, Netflix
attempted to shut down the case by submitting a motion with two main
premises. The first premise was that the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) does not apply to website-only businesses, and the second
premise was that the new 21st Century Video Communications &
Accessibility Act (CVAA) covers the Internet, and therefore the ADA
does not apply. On June 19, 2012, the judge presiding over the case
made a landmark decision, allowing NAD’s lawsuit against Netflix to
move forward. Watch NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum as he outlines the details
of this victory and what to expect as the case moves forward. The fight
is far from over!
Click here to read Judge Ponsor’s decision.
Click here to read the official NAD press release.
The NAD Advocates for Access to Quality Captioning
Click here to View Announcement and Vlog
On June 5, 2012 the National Association of the Deaf, along with other
consumer interest groups, testified before the U.S. Copyright Office
asking that closed captions and audio descriptions be exempted from
anti-circumvention measures under Copyright law.
The NAD, Georgetown Law Institute for Public Representation and on
behalf of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.,
Gallaudet University, and the American Foundation for the Blind were
the groups involved in this testimony. All groups testified that the
Copyright law should not stand in the way of third parties being able
to add or improve captions or audio descriptions on digital video
programming distributed via Internet protocol or on fixed media.
A large amount of video programming is not required to be captioned
under the law, such as DVDs and some online programming. The
Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
requires the captioning of programs shown online if they were first
shown on TV with closed captions. The FCC also exempted video clips
of programs shown on TV with captions from coverage under the CVAA.
If content owners do not want to add captions themselves, then there is
no reason for third parties, such as schools or online video
programming distributors, to be prevented from adding or modifying
There are also situations where the quality of the closed captions are
so poor, making it nearly impossible to follow the program. Third
parties should be able to correct misspellings or improve the timing of
captions. Moreover, an exemption for closed captioning will make sure
that video players will allow users to customize the caption
size, change colors, and improve contrast / readability.
The NAD expects a decision from the U.S. Copyright Office within a
year. As part of our testimony, we showed several videos – created by
CPC Closed Captioning – that illustrate the good, the bad, and the ugly
of closed captioning and audio descriptions – view
it here. http://youtu.be/VyA5mkhCzRA
The NAD Leads the Way for Accessible Closed Captioning Controls
Click here to View the Announcement
On June 4, 2012, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) led a
number of organizations and consumer groups in submitting comments in
response to a Public Notice issued by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) on the accessibility of closed captioning controls on
devices and equipment.
The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
(CVAA) directs the FCC to mandate access to closed captioning features
on both video programming equipment and navigation devices through
mechanism that is “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon”
designed specifically for activating closed captioning features.
Closed captioning controls must be easily accessible, in order to
prevent navigation through unfolding maze of menus, or prevent users
from having to turn on/off a device in order to access closed
The closed captioning control is a mechanism that is used to turn
on/off closed captions
and/or customize size, color and positioning, among many other
features. The NAD, along with other consumer interest groups, believes
that closed captioning controls need to be treated with a role that is
equivalent to that assigned to current volume controls.
If a physical button on the device or remote raises or lowers volume,
then there should also be a physical button to access the closed
captioning control. If users control the volume inside a program, then
the closed captioning control needs to be placed adjacent to the volume
Hearing people rely on the ability to quickly adjust the volume of
programs, particularly if someone is speaking softly, or if there is
background noise in the surrounding environment. Deaf and hard of
hearing people have similar experiences and often face situations where
the closed captions cover important on-screen text such as an important
news headline or sports box score and need to quickly turn off the
closed captions to read the text, and then quickly turn the closed
captions back on. Consumers also need information about which programs
are captioned prior to viewing video content. Oftentimes, deaf and hard
of hearing people simply do not know if the content is accessible until
after they’ve watched 30 seconds to a minute of
In comments submitted to the FCC by the NAD and other consumer groups,
it was recommended that the closed captioning control be accessible at
all times. Additionally, it is important that users do not have to turn
on / set up the closed captioning every time they use a device, but
that their closed captioning settings remain the same even when the
unit is powered on and/or off.
Please feel free to read the comments we submitted in response to the
FCC Public Notice here and here.