Twenty-five years ago, few television shows or movies were captioned. Today, thanks to advancing technology and federal law, you can turn on the television and watch almost any show with captions. Also, thanks to improved technology and the volunteer efforts of movie studios and movie distributors, you can now buy or rent many movie DVDs with captions.
Increasingly, people are watching television shows and movies that are redistributed over the Internet. People can download these television shows and movies from the Internet and watch them on their computers or on playback devices like video iPods. However, almost none of these television shows and movies, even television shows and movies that were previously captioned, are captioned when redistributed over the Internet. Presently, only a fraction of the multimedia on the Internet must be captioned or otherwise made accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The NAD continues to advocate for increasing Internet captioning. The law is generally clear that government agencies must make their websites accessible. The law is less clear about business websites. Finally, the law does not require television shows and movies that are redistributed over the Internet to be captioned…not yet.
The NAD Law and Advocacy Center is seeking to make changes in the Communications Act to expand the television closed captioning rules to television program producers and distributors who distribute television programs or other video over the Internet.
The NAD also advocates for broadband Internet access to be available, affordable, and accessible to all Americans.