Accessibility Regulations
January 27th, 2011

Overview of U.S. accessibility regulations regarding online video captions.

Industries AffectedRegulationOverview
Television Programmers21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility ActIn 2010, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which will require closed captions on video, displayed online, for video that was delivered with captions on broadcast television. The FCC will soon issue a report that includes deadlines for the delivery of closed captioning services.
Federal GovernmentWorkforce Rehabilitation Act: Section 508In 1998, Congress amended Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to require access to the Federal government's electronic and information technology. It applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use such technology. Federal agencies must ensure that this technology is accessible to employees and the public. Under §1194.22 (b), federal agencies must caption all videos and multimedia files, including all formats—over the air broadcast, CD or DVD, and Web multimedia whether produced internally or externally, including video produced by partners if federal funds are used. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is not permissible to provide stand-alone transcripts in lieu of video captioning.
Internet RetailersAmericans with Disabilities ActIn National Federation of the Blind v. The Target Corporation, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) retailers can be sued if their websites are not accessible to individuals with disabilities and that the “ADA's prohibition against discrimination in the enjoyment of goods, services, facilities or privileges, is that whatever goods or services the place provides, it cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in providing enjoyment of those goods and services."
EducationWorkforce Rehabilitation Act: Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Title IISection 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in 1973 provides that no otherwise qualified individual with disabilities in the United States shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program, such as a education institution, receiving federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213, requires comparable access by all state and local government programs, regardless of whether or not the programs get federal financial assistance.
State and Local governmentsAmericans with Disabilities Act: Title IIThe U.S. Department of Justice is considering revising the ADA's Title II regulation to establish requirements for making the services, programs, or activities offered by State and local governments to the public via the Web accessible. Many states already have adopted regulations requiring captions for online video on state web sites.
Web SitesAmericans with Disabilities Act: Title IIIThe U.S. Department of Justice is considering revising the regulations implementing Title III of the ADA in order to establish requirements for making the goods, services, facilities, privileges, accommodations, or advantages offered by public accommodations via the Internet, specifically at sites on the World Wide Web accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Justice Department is currently reviewing comments on requiring captions for web sites with online video.

For more information contact:
Matt Knopf / VP of BizDev