Netflix May Have to Provide Captions Online

Deaf advocacy groups win one round of legal battle over disability act

By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 22, 2012 4:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Netflix could soon be legally forced to offer closed captions on its streaming videos. The National Association for the Deaf sued the company, saying it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide captions for the bulk of its online content. Netflix asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit, asserting that the ADA doesn't apply to the online world, but the judge this week permitted the suit to continue, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Netflix argued that the federal disability act applies only to physical structures, not the Internet. The judge disagreed, declaring "that Congress intended the ADA to adapt to changes in technology." The lawsuit can now proceed, and one lawyer sounds optimistic. "By recognizing that websites are covered by the ADA, the court has ensured that the ADA stays relevant as much of our society moves from Main Street to the Internet."

Netflix could be legally compelled to offer closed captioning online under the Americans with Disabilities Act.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
Netflix on a tablet.   (PRNewsFoto/VIZIO, Inc.)
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