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ADA May Force Netflix To Provide Closed Captioning On Content

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the information-neutrality dept.

Government 694

Shivetya writes "Last year Netflix was sued by the National Association for the Deaf for failing to provide closed captioned text through its on-demand streaming service. Now, a judge has denied Netflix's attempt to have the suit thrown out, saying that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in any venue — not just physical structures. The easiest means to comply would be to remove all videos which do not have a closed captioning component, the other route would require Netflix to pay to have this done to any video it wants to provide. The implications to other providers is immense as well. The plaintiffs will still need to prove that Netflix is legally obligated to provide closed-captioning, but the ruling is still significant for recognizing that Internet sites may fall under the purview of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

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Mixed feelings (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460629)

On one hand this sucks. The amount of revenue you bring in by making your content accessible is not going to pay the cost of doing so. Same can be said with making websites accessible to the blind (and really probably most brick n’ mortar establishments.. especially if retrofit).

On the other hand that’s part of living in a civilized society. Most of us could easily by freak accident be in a position where we’d want these services... and doing non-profitable stuff like this just becomes another cost of business.

The implications on other content and especially user supplied content where no/very little revenue is being generated are of course the most scary. Where do you (or do you) draw the line between content that is “real” enough to require closed captioning (commercial productions, movies, etc..), and content that doesn’t (videos taken on cell phones, etc..).

The obvious answer would be monetization. If the video author isn’t getting money, the requirement goes away. But trying to turn that into a concrete policy becomes very mucky, as sites like youtube are profiting from it either directly from ad revenue, or indirectly through increased traffic/draw to their site.

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460681)

well we could take it to the next logical step, What about blind people? we need to make sure blind people can access the internet and "watch" their videos as well!

I am all for "fair access" but if the CC was not made available by the content maker, than how is it netflixes fault for not having them? Shouldnt the judge be charging the movie maker for not providing CC to begin with??

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460729)

Some channels actually have "descriptive audio" here. It's actually exactly what it sounds like. A voice describes what is happening, overlaid onto the audio. Once in a while I'll turn it on and try watching something with my eyes closed.. surprisingly for stuff that's heavily dialog driven, it works surprisingly well.

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460815)

Some channels actually have "descriptive audio" here. It's actually exactly what it sounds like. A voice describes what is happening, overlaid onto the audio. Once in a while I'll turn it on and try watching something with my eyes closed.. surprisingly for stuff that's heavily dialog driven, it works surprisingly well.

Once upon a time, those were called radio shows.

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461109)

From the DVS track for Basic Instinct

Correli unconsciously licks his lips.
She leans forward with an eager smile.

Nick Curran glances up from his notepad.
Correli eyes him curiously.
With a saucy gaze, Catherine uncrosses
          her thighs.
She briefly exposes her pubic hair
then recrosses her legs.

Basic Instinct Poems [canopycanopycanopy.com]

Re:Mixed feelings (3, Interesting)

Woldscum (1267136) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460867)

I am blind in one eye from childhood. I can not see anything in 3D. If a movie theater shows a 3D move must they also provide the same movie in 2D?

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460923)

Wear the glasses. You will simply get one of the two angles, meaning you will get a 2D presentation.

Re:Mixed feelings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460937)

I wish ... 3d gives me horrible migraines making most movies almost intolerable for me now.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460999)

Try losing^H^H^H^H^Hclosing one eye.

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460957)

Well the glasses would still work for you to produce a 2D image. :)

I've got a degenerative eye condition which means I'll be legally blind within 20 years. I'm as blind as a bat at night currently.
I think this is a good idea. Mostly because most TV should already have closed captions, and it should be a minor technical hurdle for Netflix to provide it.

Where is the line? I wouldn't expect Youtube to provide closed captions for every video because most of the videos are not commercially produced and I am not paying for a service with Youtube.
With Netflix you pay for it and the content is produced commercially so that seems like a good boundary.

Re:Mixed feelings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461001)

Why can't you just wear the glasses and watch the movie that way? 3D w/ the glasses but with just one eye should be extreamly similar to the 2D movie.

Re:Mixed feelings (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460995)

We can go the route of practical universality of consequences like showing inconsistencies in applying this 'principle' to other groups(like the blind) but I like to go the other direction, and consider the logical consequences of the action itself. Consider what these people are doing. They are asking our government to steal money from people because they do not like what it is that the people at netflix is offering willing customers. They are requesting theft against peaceful traders. They are advocating the initiation of violence against innocent people.

We can point out how unsustainable such action would be if it were taken to its logical and universal conclusion. No problem there. But we can also just stop at 'its fucking evil, shame on you sick fucks' and be done with it.

Or, if it is too painful to confront and demand virtue from people, if the cost of ostracism from a society that isn't quite ready to hear such condemnation is too high, one can refrain from pointing out the immorality of their action and instead one can describe its internal logical inconsistencies. Namely, advocating the initiation of theft against innocent people arbitrarily, which necessarily requires victims who resist the violence(otherwise it wouldn't be). This then means that their principle is that either "some arbitrary set of people should initiate violence and some other arbitrary set of people should oppose violence" or "each person should arbitrarily initiate and also at the same time fight against violence". Either way this violates universality and consistency which are both necessary requirements for any rule describing reality to possibly be true.

The argument from practical effect is reasonable, but it runs the risk of being countered by people who prefer some effect of such actions. Lawyers for instance would gladly have blind people also suing netflix. The effect for them is great. So, be careful of relying too strongly on argument from effect.

Re:Mixed feelings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461033)

What do you think aalib is for?

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461097)

I'm half deaf and only watch videos on Netflix with closed captioning, but I'm on Netflix's side on this one. They provide no essential services, not even news or weather, and the only educational stuff tends to already have CC anyway. What's next, all porn is required to have CC?

Re:Mixed feelings (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460727)

"On one hand this sucks. The amount of revenue you bring in by making your content accessible is not going to pay the cost of doing so."

HUH? The Subtitles are on the DVD's they are ripping to create their content. It costs them nothing to send a fricking text stream.

Re:Mixed feelings (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460745)

Knowing the fucked up way media licensing works, they probably have to license the subtitle data seperately or something (see also: theme music).

Re:Mixed feelings (5, Informative)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460949)

They're not ripping DVDs. They're purchasing content from digital distribution houses such as Funimation, Weinstein, Dreamworks, Starz (well at least used to), etc.. The content provider would have to make the subtitles available to Netflix to push onto the stream. If they don't/won't then Netflix would be on the hook if they are legally recognized as a "multi-channel video programming distributor [fcc.gov] ".

Is that serious, or a straw man? (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460637)

Quite seriously, is that normal in the US that every program needs to have CC or are TV networks trying to push the competition out of business? Just asking...

Another question, does it say anything about the quality of the CC? I mean, how expensive could it be to have some Chinese or NKor people create yet another Backstroke of the West style CC?

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460675)

I can't figure out how the Congress has power to regulate private businesses and impose the ADA. Maybe it's through the corporate licensing.
Anyway:
Yes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled long-ago that broadcast TV must carry closed captioning. Then they extended it to cable TV (by what authority I have no idea). Including captioning on netflix really isn't a big deal..... it's encoded in the video steams of VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blurays so netflix just needs to dump that CC to the internet stream.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460779)

I can't figure out how the Congress has power to regulate private businesses and impose the ADA.

Then obviously you didn't read the ADA, which covers it explicitly at the start.

(a) Findings

The Congress finds that

(1) physical or mental disabilities in no way diminish a person’s right to fully participate in all aspects of society, yet many people with physical or mental disabilities have been precluded from doing so because of discrimination; others who have a record of a disability or are regarded as having a disability also have been subjected to discrimination;

(2) historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and, despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem;

(3) discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such critical areas as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, institutionalization, health services, voting, and access to public services;

(4) unlike individuals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, or age, individuals who have experienced discrimination on the basis of disability have often had no legal recourse to redress such discrimination;

(5) individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including outright intentional exclusion, the discriminatory effects of architectural, transportation, and communication barriers, overprotective rules and policies, failure to make modifications to existing facilities and practices, exclusionary qualification standards and criteria, segregation, and relegation to lesser services, programs, activities, benefits, jobs, or other opportunities;

(6) census data, national polls, and other studies have documented that people with disabilities, as a group, occupy an inferior status in our society, and are severely disadvantaged socially, vocationally, economically, and educationally;

(7) the Nation's proper goals regarding individuals with disabilities are to assure equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for such individuals; and

(8) the continuing existence of unfair and unnecessary discrimination and prejudice denies people with disabilities the opportunity to compete on an equal basis and to pursue those opportunities for which our free society is justifiably famous, and costs the United States billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses resulting from dependency and nonproductivity.

(b) Purpose

It is the purpose of this chapter

(1) to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities;

(2) to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities;

(3) to ensure that the Federal Government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this chapter on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and

(4) to invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (3, Informative)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460861)

I'm pretty sure you missed the entire point. The OP was asking what power congress has to CREATE the ADA, not what does the ADA do.

There's nowhere in the constitution that gives congress the power to regulate how private businesses operate. Some would say (not saying I do) that we should let economics figure this out. if there's money to be made, then companies will make it happen.

Anyways, I think that's what the real question was.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461017)

that we should let economics figure this out.

The ADA exists (and here in Canada, the equivilant) because this won't happen. Making things accessible isn't a good business decision. It costs a lot of moeny and doesn't bring in much additional revenue. Society has decided that it's not fair to exclude the <whatever the correct term is now> from everything .. and so complying with accessibility rules just becomes a part of doing business.

Personally I think it goes too far. As usual we failed to find a reasonable medium. I'm all for society incurring some burden to help those who could easily by freak chance be us. At the same time however, we have to accept that it's impossible to make it so a <whatever the correct term is now> person can do everything in the same way that a non <whatever the correct term is now> can. If this was the case, then there'd be no problem. It sucks but it's life...

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461087)

I'm pretty sure you missed the entire point. The OP was asking what power congress has to CREATE the ADA, not what does the ADA do.

No, you missed my point. I know it was a wall of text in Legalese, but that was ALSO in what I quoted. Go back and read it again, don't skip the parts you don't like.

Believe it or not, Congress includes these things in many of their laws, I know it's hard to believe, but they do provide a pattern, and you can learn to understand it with a little work.

They made a statement, you may not agree. That's fine, you can challenge it in court. But don't ignore the statement, that obliviousness is your own problem, not mine.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (2, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460863)

>>>Then obviously you didn't read the ADA, which covers it explicitly at the start.

Thanks. Now show me *in the constitution* where Congress was given authority to regulate private business. They certainly have the authority over commerce among the states, but PER THE 10th AMENDMENT do not have authority over businesses that exist wholly *inside* a state. Like a private store. Or a private office. Or a private school. Or a private farm. Or.....

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460961)

Except they do regulate those things, under the pretext that they could perform interstate commerce some time in the nebulous future.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461065)

[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461077)

Other than interstate commerce the media companies make use of public airwaves and government backed loans at lower rates and they do business with the government by selling content to us military stations and military housing on military bases

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (2)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460859)

I can't figure out how the Congress has power to regulate private businesses and impose the ADA

The Constitution of the US, Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:[2] "[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;"

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460929)

Read more carefully the clause you quoted. It says AMONG the states. Not inside a state. For example Congress has zero authority to force me to replace the stairs into my office with a ramp (only the Maryland legislature can do that).

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461067)

I agree with you - but the Supreme Court does not.

That said, broadcasters and YouTube does realistically fall into interstate commerce under most interpretations.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461011)

The power comes from the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. [wikipedia.org]

Including captioning on netflix really isn't a big deal..... it's encoded in the video steams of VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blurays so netflix just needs to dump that CC to the internet stream.

It is a big deal if it's not being provided by the digital content providers they purchase their videos from. Netflix doesn't rip DVDs for their streaming service. The MPAA would go ape sh*t if they did that. They have to purchase content specifically for their streaming service.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461095)

I can't figure out how the Congress has power to regulate private businesses and impose the ADA.

The same way they can tell you that you can't advertise an apartment for rent with "Whites only" in the ad.

Re:Is that serious, or a straw man? (2)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460771)

In general, as of January 1, 2006, all "new" English language programming, defined as analog programming first published or exhibited on or after January 1, 1998, and digital programming first aired on or after July 1, 2002, must be captioned by US broadcasters (with some exceptions.)

The FCC has issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on quality of Closed Captions, but as far as I know there are no formal FCC rules for quality yet, except for requiring broadcasters to provide contact information for reporting Closed Caption problems, and there is a web site to complain to the FCC as well.

Under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, the FCC requires video programming owners to provide video programming distributors of IP-delivered content with captions of at least the same quality as the television captions provided for that programming.

The ADA pushes too hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460641)

I'm still confused as to why a university can't make small renovations to buildings without spending tens of millions of dollars to meet ADA requirements. Now they want to apply the same thing to Netflix? Why can't the law just require Netflix to make CC available whenever they can, and possibly reward them when they spend their own money to do it.

Re:The ADA pushes too hard (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460673)

Why can't the law just require buildings to have handicapped ramps if they "can"?

Re:The ADA pushes too hard (2)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460809)

Because then every business would argue that it can't install ramps. And usually the argument would boil down to it being possible, it'd just cost money and the business doesn't want to spend money.

Society, OTOH, has decided that it's not in it's best interests for a significant number of it's members to not be able to do the basic things everyone else can, like get into a store and shop for goods or go to the theater and watch a movie. Just like it decided it wasn't in it's best interests for a significant number of it's members to be relegated to the back of the bus and to second-rate schools just because of the color of their skin. Businesses don't like it now, just like they didn't like it then, but society doesn't make it's decisions based on what's best for businesses (just like businesses don't make their decisions based on what's best for society, apparently). I've a little sympathy for them, but since in large part they've demonstrated that nothing short of application of a blunt instrument will get them to behave my general attitude's become "If they don't like the terms society wants, they're free to pack their businesses up and go elsewhere.".

Re:The ADA pushes too hard (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460941)

That's a false analogy. It costs businesses nothing to serve people of color. If anything, it brings in more profits.

It costs businesses money to install ramps and other handicap accessibility features. I'm not saying people shouldn't have a heart and invest in making their buildings accessible - I'm simply trying to show you that your analogy is false.

Re:The ADA pushes too hard (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460691)

Probably because they wouldn't do it at all.

Like everything else, we can't seem to find a happy medium. Making something (anything) accessible is almost always a financial loss. You spend thousands of dollars adding ramps, special bathrooms, etc and might gain 4 new customers.. you add CC to a video and again, you probably won't draw enough extra traffic to pay the cost of doing so.

We have decided as a society that simply having no accessibility is unacceptable. So we have to bite the bullet and call it a cost of business. Unfortunately as usual, we went to far.. and now as you said, we end up putting unreasonable burdens on people for very little benifit.

Re:The ADA pushes too hard (1)

mcspoo (933106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460757)

I actually like that idea. Rewards for doing the right thing. But...

Do you give them a reward for providing sound so people who can hear have no issues watching the movie? You know, they give out refunds if the movie plays without sound... Do I ever get a refund if the RW or Open Captioning advertised doesn't play? No.

Re:The ADA pushes too hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460977)

I'm still confused as to why a university can't make small renovations to buildings without spending tens of millions of dollars to meet ADA requirements.

They can. The ADA specifically provides for minor repairs and renovations, it's just when you engage in a significant overhaul that you're required to make the substantial changes.

I'm confused at how people think they can misrepresent the ADA when it's a public document. And so is the education meant to correct whatever deceptions you've been indoctrinated with:

http://www.ada.gov/reachingout/lesson33.htm

I'm sure somebody can make up some big huge sob story about how the ADA drove them out of business or something, but that kind of story is easy to manufacture, less easy to verify.

Now they want to apply the same thing to Netflix? Why can't the law just require Netflix to make CC available whenever they can, and possibly reward them when they spend their own money to do it.

How do you know that's not the requirements in the law?

Though I'd say that it'd be Tax Law for the latter, rather than the ADA directly, I can't imagine how it wouldn't qualify as a business expense.

The deaf are kind of militant these days (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460667)

Used to have a deaf roommate who was big into "deaf culture" (and was very annoying about it). We're talking Malcolm X militant about it. He wasn't alone either. There are a lot of people into deaf rights who think it should be illegal to air or play anything non-CC'ed. And they *will* sue.

Great for them, not so great for the rest of us who get cut off from all non-CC'ed content. And getting something CC'ed is pretty expensive--prohibitively so for a lot of indies.

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460731)

>>>not so great for the rest of us who get cut off from all non-CC'ed content.

I've seen lots of non-Captioned content over broadcast TV (channels: thisTV, retroTV, antennaTV). The owner only has to broadcast CC if it's available, but if it's an old or obscure movie/show that doesn't have CC, they can still send it out for the enjoyment of hearing folk.

only 25% of the time my dear fellow (2)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460831)

"As of January 1, 2008, 75 percent of “pre-rule” English language programming, defined as analog programming first shown before January 1, 1998, and digital programming first shown before July 1, 2002, must be captioned, with some exceptions."

citation:http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/closedcaption.pdf

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461043)

Actually that's not quite accurate...

As of January 1, 2008, 75 percent of “pre-rule” English language programming, defined as analog programming first shown before January 1, 1998, and digital programming first shown before July 1, 2002, must be captioned, with some exceptions.

Source [fcc.gov]

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (4, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460761)

Deaf "Culture" will be gone in a generation.

The vast majority of children born deaf are receiving cochlear implants before the nerves degrade. This is rapidly degrading the number of deaf children. Over the long term I fully expect enrollment in deaf schools and existence of deaf culture to disappear with the only remaining deaf people being those that were afflicted by the condition later in life. Though even that is not certain, it takes several years of hearing loss before the nerves die and the body re-purposes resources so anyone that is caused to go deaf later in life will probably receive cochlear implants as well. As the technology of cochlear implants improves there will be more and more outlying cases where people are given implants.

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460849)

And, believe or not, there's actually a movement against that. There are deaf people that want deaf children, and want them to remain deaf. I'm a type 1 diabetic, and I can't imagine forcing that on a child. It makes like a pain in the butt.

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460887)

Oh yeah, my roomie regarded those implants as the enemy, and any deaf person who supported them as a traitor.

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (2)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460983)

Yes, I've read about them.

Personally I think it's child abuse to deny a baby born deaf a cochlear implant for a stupid reason like "deaf culture" (if there is a legitimate medical reason thats a valid reason). If for no other reason (and there are a LOT of other reasons) loss of hearing is a serious safety issue.

Re:The deaf are kind of militant these days (1)

alonsoac (180192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461063)

On the other hand more people who were born with normal hearing are now going deaf and at younger ages because of damage produced by excesive noise (from having earphones too loud, from more powerfull sound equipment at discos, etc). So maybe it could just get worse. Also these implants are not available/affordable everywhere and that could take a long while to fix.

Youtube? (4, Insightful)

24-bit Voxel (672674) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460677)

Would this include YouTube?

Re:Youtube? (2)

bongey (974911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460753)

Youtube has Transcribe Audio feature , it is beta like everything else.

Re:Youtube? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461059)

If it includes Netflix under the definition of "multi-channel video programming distributors"...

Don't forget the blind! (3, Funny)

_8553454222834292266 (2576047) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460683)

Netflix will need to mail a Braille transcript.

Re:Don't forget the blind! (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461071)

It's called "descriptive audio" and has been available in many places for over a decade.

Who enforces the ADA? (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460685)

The Handicapper General?

Re:Who enforces the ADA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460817)

Facetious answer aside, most ADA enforcement is on the individual level, where somebody complains about not getting access, if that's not solved, they can and do go to court.

The Civil Rights Division of the US DOJ (and state equivalents) have some authority, but it is often incidental.

Serious question: (2, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460687)

What if Netflix doesn't consider the deaf to be its target audience and specifically indicates this fact? Why can a private service which requires people to pay before viewing content be forced to accommodate people who may not be their target market?

By this same token, a duochrome-colorblind person can petition for color-adjusted films. A blind person can request a specific voice feed that describes the actions of the characters in a film, and so forth. Why not just let some other service create closed captions for deaf viewers to subscribe to?

Re:Serious question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460819)

Because almost no one targets the <current politically correct term>. It usually costs more than you bring in. It's something you do because society has decided we should.

If one could say "people in wheelchairs are not my stores target audience".. about the only places accessible to the <current politically correct term> would be government offices.

Re:Serious question: (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460885)

Why can a private service which requires people to pay before viewing content be forced to accommodate people who may not be their target market?

The same reason Congress can enact nearly any law--interstate commerce.

Re:Serious question: (1)

alonsoac (180192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461111)

If some other company from outside the US does what Netflix does they would not be bound by these rules I suppose?

Re:Serious question: (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460901)

What if Netflix doesn't consider the deaf to be its target audience and specifically indicates this fact?

The legislation makes it clear that businesses aren't given a choice. There are multiple laws that prohibit discrimination in general.

Re:Serious question: (1)

Banichi (1255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461101)

The disabled are not being forbidden to experience these media, they simply lack the ability to do so to the fullest.

Deaf people have a right to listen to whatever they can hear, but not the ability.
Hungry people have a right to eat, but not the ability.

This is why the end result of this will be the case being appealed into oblivion or thrown out.
Mind, it may bankrupt Netflix in the process.

Re:Serious question: (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460971)

I personally think the suit is dumb. Why should Netflix be forced to create content and put it on its site? The National Association for the Deaf should have simply asked if Netflix if they would be willing to add CC to its videos if the CCs were provided. I believe Netflix already has CC on some of its videos. They would probably be willing to add the CCs if they were provided in the correct format. The National Association for the Deaf could then either collect donations or start a Kickstarter in order to create the CCs. Hell, a project like this could be crowd sourced.

Re:Serious question: (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460975)

I'm more interested on who's pushing this. I have Netflix and I have been enabling at least subtitles on many shows.

I'm yet to see this on cinemas. So why Netflix?

Re:Serious question: (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461003)

Becasue we as a society have determined that private enterprise can only exist at our discretion. Part of that discretion is making sure if you are open to the public, that you make reasonable accommodations for differently-abled. We then pretty clearly spelled out what those obligations are. If you open a business without factoring in these responsibilities, then i do not feel sorry for you if your model fails.

Awesome! (0, Redundant)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460699)

I know a LOT of hearing impaired and they deserve to have the subtitles.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460865)

Wow a lot of Dusche bag moderators today. What kind of fucking scumbags are on shashdot that would mod this down?

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460869)

Why do they deserve it? Lets assume for a second that netflix gets it's content from content providers. Some of it comes with close captioning, some not. It's a limitation they have no control over. The service costs next to nothing per month. Are the rest of us going to have to pay extra so the good people at netfix can afford to insert extra content (close captioning) for disabled people to watch those movies?

Lets say I owned a house and then decided to move and had a garage sale. The house has stairs up to the yard and not a wheelchair ramp. Should I be sued because someone in a wheelchair wanted at my yardsale even tho I didnt have the easy means to include them?

Im all for anti-descrimination, but at what point does this become un-deserved entitlement?

what does this mean for all websites? (3, Funny)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460711)

if this is about discrimination in any venue, then there are millions of porn sites and otherwise that are not ADA compliant.

Re:what does this mean for all websites? (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461075)

Well at least it'd be pretty simple to CC those... "oooh,... yes! yes! oh god yes! harder baby, harder..." Could probably use the same generic one for them all.

These movies are produced by somebody... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460725)

Why aren't the publishers being sued for not publishing CC'd content? What makes Netflix special?

Re:These movies are produced by somebody... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460951)

More silliness caused by a right to free speech. I can create a film or other work, without complying with ADA.

Should be easy to do (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460741)

Most of the videos on Netflix are movies or TV shows. Every movie I've seen since DVDs came out have subtitling on them, it should just be a matter of including that information in the streamed video (assuming Flash allows for displaying subtitles). Most TV shows are close-captioned already, again it should be just a matter of including the close-captioning information in the stream. There should only be a minority of content that isn't already ADA-compliant.

Re:Should be easy to do (1)

Zaelath (2588189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460837)

Most of the content I've watched already has CC... to be honest this sounds more like you'll see some content pulled until the content providers supply CC.

This is a wash for the deaf, they get no new content.

The hearing lose.

I'm all for them making some kind of "from now on" decision, but to kill off the back catalogue is nothing short of petty and vindictive.

Re:Should be easy to do (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460925)

Should be easy to do

Are you a project manager by chance?

If it seems easy, it never is.

but that ain't all of it (2)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460955)

closed captioning didn't become "all tv's" and all programming until 1990
Cite:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closed_captioning#Legislative_development_in_the_U.S. [wikipedia.org]

Netflix has 3035 videos from 1914 to 1989
and 10,937 from 1990 to 2012
pre 1998 videos total 4,440
cite:instantwatchdb.com

"As of January 1, 2008, 75 percent of “pre-rule” English language programming, defined as analog programming first shown before January 1, 1998, and digital programming first shown before July 1, 2002, must be captioned, with some exceptions."

citation:http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/closedcaption.pdf

which means they have to provide CC on 75% of 4440 videos, or drop them...

Wiki-ize, if the MPAA would allow it (4, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460743)

There are a lot of people who would participate in typing up the CC track for movies, especially if it was allowed to be copied around for noncommercial use. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that the MPAA would allow it, for the same reason they don't want you to rip your own DVD for backup purposes -- their policies are directed by lawyers whose priorities rarely overlap with what's good for consumers. If they could sue the IMDB project, they probably would.

Re:Wiki-ize, if the MPAA would allow it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460765)

There are a lot of people who would participate in typing up the CC track for movies, especially if it was allowed to be copied around for noncommercial use. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that the MPAA would allow it, for the same reason they don't want you to rip your own DVD for backup purposes -- their policies are directed by lawyers whose priorities rarely overlap with what's good for consumers. If they could sue the IMDB project, they probably would.

Wiki, really? I doubt Netflix wants a blind person to stream Star Trek II and all of a sudden see "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAApenispenispenis" as well. ;)

Re:Wiki-ize, if the MPAA would allow it (2)

leromarinvit (1462031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460939)

Wiki, really? I doubt Netflix wants a blind person to stream Star Trek II and all of a sudden see "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAApenispenispenis" as well. ;)

I think if I were blind I'd appreciate being able to see again, no matter what the first thing I saw was!

Re:Wiki-ize, if the MPAA would allow it (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461041)

It would be a lot cheaper for Netflix to capture a snapshot of a wiki-ized CC movie track and pay an intern to scan through it for vandalism than to pay somebody to actually type it all in along with time synchronization info. (And as the other jokester pointed out, it probably wouldn't offend any blind people.)

Yee haw! (1)

mcspoo (933106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460747)

As a deaf American, I am happy this is happening. It makes Netflix useful, and I'd like to see it expand to all online video. What excuse do CNN or Fox news online have NOT to captioning the video on their websites? Not a single one.

As an American businessman, I can understand what a collosal pain in the ass it is for business... but it's not the fault of ME or any other deaf person that Netflix chose to ignore us.

Would you use Netflix if all the movies and shows had no sound? Course not. There's no excuse not to have closed captioning, not from a technical stand point at least. Almost all original video has captioning enclosed nowadays. ALL broadcasts in the US are required to have closed captioning. Claiming they don't have access to the captioning is horse feces.

The bigger issue is the LICENSING costs, I believe. Captioning is often treated as a separate performance from the primary material. This, I believe, its also horse feces. Is the sound a separate performance from the video? No, it goes together to produce the performance.

I'd also like to see it expanded to the movie theaters, where a deaf person is often treated like a fool for asking if a movie has captioning... and having to seek out 2nd or 3rd run options, when there is plentiful technology to present this without issues (Rear Window, specifically) with other movie goers.

Again, I understand this costs money, but... if you did it in the first place, it wouldn't be an issue, would it? Or should be all be watching silent movies still?

Re:Yee haw! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460845)

The thing about this is that the subtitles are being imposed onto Netflix. It might be less painful for them to lose the % of deaf customers, than to pay for the license of subtitles on everything there. Although it is for a good cause, I think this could only hurt Netflix, unfortunately. In the end, nobody really wins because they are either going to have to remove content, limit content, or raise the price.

Re:Yee haw! (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460919)

This, I believe, its also horse feces. Is the sound a separate performance from the video?

Yes!

This is a huge problem for people trying to release old TV shows on DVD. They have to re-license the sound tracks. In a lot of cases, the cost either prevents them from releasing the DVD, or forces them to (at less cost) replace the audio with soundalike music (see: Married with Children).

Re:Yee haw! (1)

mcspoo (933106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461079)

A valid point then. Even if it is, doesn't mean it should be :)

508 (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460775)

Awesome. So does this mean that section 508 [access-board.gov] has to be extended to non-governmental entities, too? (Btw, /., you're in violation; I see at least two non-text elements without text equivalents while I'm typing on this page.)

What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40460807)

Those closed captions already exist and they also should have the rights for them.

Rendering some text isn't that hard.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

bs0d3 (2439278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461037)

some subtitles already exist

Re:What's the problem? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461057)

Those closed captions already exist and they also should have the rights for them.

False. Not everything includes closed captions. And often the rights are not bundled with the video content. This is especially true when CC is provided by a third party for TV broadcast of a movie, but not retroactively applied to the original film.

I'm perplexed (2)

pkinetics (549289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460871)

If NetFlix is required, then are theaters? What about YouTube? More importantly what about online porn?

I'm so confused...

That would violate the movies' copyrights. (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460875)

Netflix cannot comply with the ADA in this case, because doing so would create a derivative work of the original, without the permission of the copyright holder.

Simple as that.

Now, whether or not Netflix still has to comply... Well, perhaps we can twist this to our own gain - Does the obligation to make their content "accessible" trump copyright? If so, you can bet your left nut I'll have a business model the very next day designed to exploit that fact.

Your turn, courts - Punish us all to protect the weak, or give up your paternalistic attitude toward Big Media.

Re:That would violate the movies' copyrights. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461055)

Wrong. ADA has provisions for assistive technologies that trump copyright.

The ADA sucks (0)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#40460933)

The ADA is screwing up my life. This year, my small credit union had to spend half a million dollars replacing perfectly good ATMs so that a headphone jack can be plugged into them. My condo is spending a minimum of 10000 dollars to install a swimming pool lift. And now my Netflix subscription will need to rise in order for sub-titles.

This is too much. The ADA should be limited to insuring there is total access to government buildings and government projects. Otherwise, they should leave us alone.

Re:The ADA sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461083)

Put yourself in the position of a person with a disability. Providing people with differences inclusive treatment is a civil rights issue. You sound like someone who would support Jim Crow.

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461009)

Can't these people just turn the volume up? That's what gramma always did. But then the only thing you'd hear was grampa yelling, "Turn that damn thing down!"

youtube (1)

bs0d3 (2439278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461023)

what about all the youtube videos?

The justice system already descriminates... (1)

DSS11Q13 (1853164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461029)

in order to make a decision the judge would have to hold a hearing!

Doesn't seem to apply (3, Informative)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461031)

I used to be involved with ADA, and I believe the lawsuit will eventually fail. There are two components to ADA that they might go after, Telecommunications or Public Accommodation. However, The language of the law is pretty specific, and there's no way Netflix will fall under either of these categories. As many have already pointed out, Netflix losing would be a catastrophically slippery slope, and no court would initiate that without clear intent from Congress. Just because a case isn't summarily dismissed doesn't mean it will win, it simply means the judge believes it's worth hearing.

Re: The deaf are kind of militant these days (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461103)

I can see the news blurb now:

With last year's historic ruling completely gutting ObamaCare, this year a confident Supreme Court will consider issues of far greater import. At the top of the docket in 2013, the Nine will consider the case of a child born with only the sense of smell who is suing Netflix for not providing Robert Rodriquez' "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World" in the original "4D Aroma-Scope" format.

This is just a premliminary ruling. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40461105)

This is just a preliminary ruling. Netflix tried to have the suit dismissed, that didn't work, and now it gets tried on the merits.

At some point, the ADA runs into the First Amendment, which prohibits "forced speech". (Broadcast TV is a special case, because it involves publicly owned RF spectrum.) Book publishers aren't required to produce audio or Braille editions, or translations to another language.

Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40461107)

I think it would be great if all those movies had closed captions, but I don't think it is the place of Netflix to create them. This would be like going after Blockbuster because some of the DVDs they rent don't have closed captions. They never were gone after, and nor were they gone after during the video cassette era. I suspect outside influence here, like maybe another content provider getting all buddy buddy with some people in power...with the goal to reduce the profitability and viability of Netflix by putting this burden on them.

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