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Accessibilty Laws

Accessibility Laws: Image

How does Kaptions4U comply with U.S. Federal Accessibility Laws?

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA is a broad, anti-discrimination law for people with disabilities. Titles II and III of the ADA affect web accessibility and closed captioning.

Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local and state level. Governmental organizations must ensure “effective communication” with citizens, including providing assistive technology or services as needed.

Title III prohibits disability discrimination by “places of public accommodation.” A place of public accommodation covers shared or public entities like libraries, universities, hotels, museums, theaters, transportation services, etc., that are privately owned. Video displayed within or distributed by such places must be captioned.

Both Title II and Title III offer a disclaimer about instances where such accommodation would create an “undue hardship” for the organization. This is often the crux of arguments in ADA lawsuits about whether or not an organization must provide closed captioning. Another point of contention is whether or not a purely online business can be considered a “place of public accommodation.”

Whom this law applies to:

Municipal and state offices and facilities; museums; libraries; schools, colleges & universities; theaters & cinemas; convention centers & arenas; train stations & airports; hotels; parks; hospitals and clinics; pharmacies; restaurants; retail stores & malls; day care facilities; potentially, online services or products that are made publicly available.

Section 508 & Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires electronic communications and information technologies, such as websites, email, or web documents, be accessible. For video content, closed captions are a specific requirement.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects the civil rights of people with disabilities by requiring all federal entities — and organizations that receive federal funding — to make accommodations for equal access. This means that closed captioning must be provided for users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Whom this law applies to:

US federal offices and all their digital or physical services and communications; organizations that receive federal funding; universities or colleges that receive federal grants.

FCC Closed Captioning Regulations

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communication via television, radio, and the internet. They set strict guidelines for closed captioning television programs and live broadcasts, with specific standards on caption accuracy, timing, placement, and completeness.

While analog broadcasters have long had to caption all of their video content, some web video broadcasters are affected by FCC captioning rules.

Whom this law applies to:

Television broadcasters in the US; television content producers; television content distributors, online or analog; film producers and distributors in the US.

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

Passed in 2010, the CVAA addresses closed captioning for online video. Specifically, it applies to all online video that previously aired on US television with closed captions. This content must comply to analog FCC closed captioning regulations, including quality standards for timing, placement, accuracy, and completeness.

The CVAA applies to web video streaming sites that distribute TV shows online, as well as media sites that include movie trailers, clips, and soon, montages. Deadlines for compliance benchmarks have been rolling out for the past few years, and more deadlines are on the horizon (see timeline to the right).

Whom this law applies to:

Websites that stream or offer downloadable English or Spanish video that previously aired on American television with captions.

U.S. State-Specific Accessibility Laws

Many states have adopted Section 508 Federal Regulations into their own laws (“little 508s”), requiring state government entities to comply with Federal Accessibility Standards. Some states created their own accessibility laws based on Section 508 or other standards.

Accessibility Laws: List
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