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things

I fully understand payment info but captions and viewing history....seems nit picky. Unless legally you have to have captions?

Nate Hiatt

Need to sue the studios for providing bare-bones discs to Redbox/Netflix without captions.

Mike F

This really irritates me. I did not know that neflix forced deaf people to watch their movies. I might be off base, but this issue bothers me so much. Soon there will be a lawsuit because netflix forced me to watch something in standard definition.

Fantine

I'm hard of hearing, and I need captions for all the dialogue I can't comprehend (almost half of most films). I have rights under the ADA which Netflix is simply ignoring. Those of you who don't understand the ADA should educate yourselves. Streaming is the future of film distribution, and we who are hard of hearing refuse to be left behind.

Rocketboy_X

Ah, california, where you can make a living filing ADA lawsuits.

Fantine... In a perfect world, you wouldn't have specific rights under the ADA. If Netflix values you as a customer, then they will continue to add streaming titles. If they don't, stop spending your money with them. Nobody forces you to use Netflix.

Jason

I understand the closed captioning lawsuit, but the other one is simply rediculous. Are people so lazy they can't ask netflix to delete their data when they cancel? But then what are they going to sue because the data isn't there when they sign back up? Honestly it's not like anyone knows who moviedude2000 is, so what does it mater if a bunch of titles ratings are saved under that anonymous name? I consider myself real particular about privacy over the internet but nobody on netflix knows my real identity so it is of no consequence to my privacy for my watch and ratings history to remain. Not that I'm likely to ever cancel my account because I'm extremely satisfied with the service.

Brian

The Americans with Disability Act is a national COMMITMENT to provide reasonable accommodations. The technology to provide captions has existed since before Netflix existed. There was never any excuse, whatsoever, for Netflix failing to provide captions.

Anony/B/

I read through the ADA docs online, and I can't seem to find where it says that Netflix must provide captions for every movie on streaming. Can anyone show me where that is in the ADA?

Smy

@Rocketboy X

You're perfect world seems to be a nightmare for most others. You can keep it all for yourself.

--

The issue with captions is overblown and will not go anywhere. They are in the process of implementing it on streaming titles, which does take time and capital to do. One could ask why the onus isn't on major studios to provide captioning with their licensing deals.

There does seem to be a possible violation keeping customer data after they are no longer customers. You can, however, see the outcry if they wiped information and then when customers did come back; they would be upset over losing their account history with the company. I see an option during account cancellation, such as a check box, to remove account information at that time if desired.

Ritch

I love Netflix but they definitely dropped the ball with not providing captions on their streaming and had this ADA lawsuit coming to them.

Mark1971

I get the occasional DVD that doesn't have subtitles. Is the manufacturer in violation of ADA? How do movie theaters accommodate people who are deaf? Are they in violation of ADA? Are television broadcasters required by law to provide closed captioning for all of their programming?

jheartney

Mark1971:

I get the occasional DVD that doesn't have subtitles. Is the manufacturer in violation of ADA?

Not if the DVD has closed captioning (which is different from subtitles). Closed captioning generally doesn't work if the DVD is being upconverted, however.

How do movie theaters accommodate people who are deaf? Are they in violation of ADA?

Some theaters offer a mirror-captioning system in which patrons can request a reflective device that sits in their laps and lets them see captions that are shown at the back of the theater. Another option is for patrons to bring a portable tablet device like an iPad, with captions loaded into an app that displays them in sync with the screen image. This doesn't always work because not all movies have caption files available for such devices.

Are television broadcasters required by law to provide closed captioning for all of their programming?

Yes. And a new law passed recently explicitly requires streaming content to be captioned in the next few years. I don't know how this lawsuit will fare in the courts, but even if they win, Netflix will be required to provide captioning on all content within the next few years.

It's easy for thoughtless hearing people to dismiss the needs of the deaf or hard-of-hearing. If you had a family member or close friend who depends on captioning, you'd realize how ignorant these kinds of comments are.

Nearly all the content Netflix streams has already had captions created for it. After finally getting this capability added to broadcast content, there's no reason to have newer digital formats backslide and not have the same feature. Optional captioning doesn't negatively impact hearing audiences, and costs a negligible amount when applied uniformly to mass-market releases. The fact that you don't (yet) require this capability isn't an excuse for denying it to those who do.

JimmyD

if you dont like netflix's caption policy dont subscribe , ridiculous

Mike

Can you say "frivolous"?

John

If they can be sued for tracking viewing habits, can they also be sued for not carrying all blu-ray releases when they charge an extra 3 bucks monthly for blu-ray rental? If so, count me in!

Eric_Rosario

Give me a break! It's a paid service. If the service does not offer captions then don't pay for it, instead opt for general stations that you can get for free with a good antenna. Netflix is just getting huge so its seem natural for the greedy to go after them.

CJ

Over the last decade watching Netflix DVDs, I've seen so many foreign movies, where you need the subtitles, I just leave the English subtitles on for movies in English - it's a different viewing experience that I like. Frequently song lyrics and background audio you normally wouldn't be able to identify are in the subtitles. I hear just fine.

So if it takes class action suits to get streaming English subtitles, then I'm all for it. I realize there are technical difficulties, however, maybe this suit will make the parties behind streaming get their acts together.

Brian O'Connell

Class action lawsuits: the lawyers get millions, the "victims" get coupons.

Brandi

WTF is wrong with you? Oh you can hear, you can watch all videos on the computer, Netflix or whatever. Am I not allowed to enjoy the exact same thing? You'll be the first of the people I would shoot if this was wild wild west.

Imagine yourself being one of the minority... take away the sounds. Would you complain? Oh, I'm sorry. Just don't pay for the service.

Nicole

I hope all these people lose their lawsuits.

Hypocrisy Rules

I think the reason why many think the captioning lawsuit is without merit and why they keep saying, "...then just don't subscribe to Netflix," is because the same content that does not include captions on IW is available with captions via other means. Netflix is not preventing deaf or hard-of-hearing consumers from viewing these titles with captions by failing to encode IW with captions. Those titles are still available with captions via other sources...including on DVD or Bluray from Netflix itself.

However, if a content creator (TV networks, Hollywood studios, etc.) do not make captions available on a product, that product will not be available via any means with the captioning. That means that deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals are, in fact, being prevented from fully enjoying that product.

That is why some folks keep saying, "if you don't like it, go somewhere else,"...because you can. If Netflix were the only source for some of this content, the suit would have more merit.

@Brandi
So what you are saying is, failing to provide captions is grounds for a lawsuit, but exercising free-speech that you do not like or agree with is a crime punishable by death? How is your former argument supposed to be taken seriously when you follow it up with death threats over contrary opinions?

And before I get flamed, I am fully of the opinion that Netflix should make every effort to ensure that as many people as possible should be able to enjoy its service. However, I would not appreciate content being withheld from me and the majority of consumer until they are able to work out a way for, as an example, blind people to be able to "watch" movies. That would be counter productive as would any rule that downgrades everything to the "lowest-common-denominator." While we're at it, why not outlaw HD broadcasting until each and every product which can view it is capable of displaying 1080p video. After all, it is leaving behind all of those with only SD equipment.

It is also my understanding that, unless you are paying for a "streaming only" plan, the streaming is a free bonus that is in addition to your paid-for X-disc-out DVD/BD rental plan. So, in essence, Netflix is being sued over something that is given away, not necessarily charged for.

BP

Don Cullen is an asshole.

Scott

You as a consumer have the right to join or not join the service... You also have the right to cancel at any time if you feel what your provided does not meet your expectations. Netflix as a business has the right to run their business as they see fit... Period

Bast

I sincerely hope that none of you folks who are basically telling us deaf and HoH folks to get over it/leave Netflix ever require any accomodation whatsoever.

There is a new streaming service out there that accomodates us Deaf/HoH folks. They are accepting folks now for a waiting list.

Brandi

Netflix set the standard fee, the service being with or without DVDs. It has nothing to do with subtitles/captions. The increased cost in the service is from the postage. The postage will increase. I look at it this way, all current plans has instant streaming and is included at the cost as $7.99. The extra costs are for postage.

Why are you complaining? You think the subtitles would change everything? Make you pay more? It's just a button most of you overlook until you somehow slip in the bathtub and lose your hearing, and only then be grateful for us who have been fighting for this the whole way. It makes no difference for you.

If it wasn't for MLK Jr., Crow's Law would still be in effect. I'm just glad for our government. Obama signed the law. I hope this lawsuit kicks Netflix into action of adding the little button to all movies, all 11k available to you, whereas we're only getting a fraction (1421 at last count).

As for wild west, it's the attitude I'm frustrated with. I'm not going to "stay down, be quiet" just because you're afraid of change.

BP

@ Bast

Their reaction might be extreme in your eyes but when you frame it within the context of their having a reaction to a self-aggrandizing extremist within the deaf community then it makes perfect sense.

If deaf people don't want normal people dismissing them [deaf people] out of hand then perhaps you should reign in the more fringe elements of your community. Finding the only ambulance chasers willing to take your lawsuit, bragging about having found someone to take your lawsuit and having confidential information against your opponent, generally making an ass out of yourself and attacking a well-loved public company (a rare thing!) for simply not responding fast enough to your until recently not legally mandated to be accommodated needs isn't the best way to win new friends.

In light of the way Americans tend to operate - voting with their dollars, err, sort of, I guess, whatever, man, don't tell me how to spend my money! - I think telling people unhappy with Netflix's service to shove off is not only acceptable but necessary. If every business were forced to cater to every niche demographic - whether that's furries or deaf people, take your pick - there would be no successful businesses. Further, Netflix isn't limiting your access to deaf-friendly content as you can rent one of their DVDs or simply buy whatever it is you want to watch.

This is a situation where it really, really sucks to be you because there hasn't been a convergence of business need, customer necessity, technological ability and product availability. Shit happens. Deal with it. Things take time. I've a million phrases to toss your way if you're not familiar with the realities of life, but you most likely are and you're most likely just fashionably outraged because this one time an issue pertains to whatever it is that makes you special. There exists an endless list of awful things in this world, of which deafness is only one, and it neither makes you a unique beautiful snow flake nor exempts you from criticism of your self-interested political tactics.

Yeah. I guess that's heartless, but so is being a selfish douchebag fuck that is more interested in letting people know that they've filed a class action lawsuit against Netflix for their bungling of captions than they are actually helping to get captions on Netflix streaming.

-BP

PS. All this coming from a guy who would literally be devoid of a reason for existing without his hearing (musician / sound engineer) and who has endless sympathy for anyone who has ever been wronged by a corporation.

Unfortunately, some people within the deaf community have worked damn hard to make sure that even the most bleeding heart liberal-minded out there has turned cold and uncompassionate to your movement.

BP

@ Brandi

It isn't just "adding a button" you self-absorbed clueless luddite philistine troglodyte moron. Do you think that DVRs automagically record your television programs by way of amazing bit gnomes that shuttle each individual pixel onto canvas and then reverse the process back onto your television screen when you decide to watch it? Do you even understand how technology works or are you just being obtuse because you think it makes for a stronger point? Hint: it doesn't, and it makes you look like a careless willfully ignorant jerk who doesn't want to see any side other than their own.

I'm not afraid of change. Not in the same way that you're apparently afraid of understanding the technology (IT'S JUST A BUTTON AM I RITE?) and financials (HEY GUYS LISTEN TO THIS ASININE COMPLAINT ABOUT THE COST OF NETFLIX'S BUSINESS, PS PLEASE IGNORE THE FACT THAT A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT WOULD MOST LIKELY AFFECT NETFLIX'S BOTTOM LINE AND THEY MIGHT THEREFORE RAISE PRICES) underpinning Netflix's business. I'm afraid of self-interested niche consumers thinking that own the world and that they have every right to do everything within their power, however dangerous and prone to collateral damage that might be and damn it all anyway, to fill that niche. You're deaf. That sucks. My sympathies. Your life won't end having to wait another year for Netflix streaming - a luxury that you're not entitled or forced to possess and that isn't comparable to the broadcast TV of yesteryear you people are so fond of comparing it to.

Flat out asserting that people of hearing (is that the proper nomenclature?) don't give a shit about deaf people until they themselves become deaf is inflammatory, counterintuitive and a frankly quite douchebag thing to say. So is acting as if you are fighting the good fight for all people, deaf or not, because in the end you could be deaf at any moment - oh, but wait, you chose to exemplify the way in which a hearing person becomes deaf as being because of their own stupidity. Great! Glad to know all deaf people are created equal. And that you're fighting this fight for all of us. And not just, er, you know, you.

Further, and this might be the single stupidest thing I have ever seen on any blog ever, comparing your plight to that of blacks in the South is patently offensive and stupid. I am so glad to know that deaf people are regularly lynched and hung because of their disability.

Asshole.

BP

@ Bast

You want to know why people on this blog might come across as uncaring? Look no further than what Brandi wrote.

The greatest threat to people's continued compassion towards disabled people comes from within [the very communities that claim to represent those very people].

Normal, everyday, healthy, boring-in-every-way people don't just choose to up and hate cripples or deaf or blind people. It is a result of enough negatively accumulated world experience, eg the combined effects of: the deaf people on the Netflix blog (have you READ what they write?), that bitter angry guy in a wheelchair that ran over my foot at Target (try and claim you haven't seen them, go ahead, try), the blind guy that refuses help to get on the bus and then takes twenty minutes to get on it because he's being a crazy douche, etc.

Human nature dictates that we UNFAIRLY come to negatively associate these people with whatever disability it is they possess - as opposed to just mentally assigning them to the "lone asshole" bin in our brain. Yup, that blows, and it's unacceptable, and it's something the human race needs to evolve past, but them's the breaks.

Great people are the exception to this rule. They can take the hits, roll with them and keep on truckin'. They don't let negative bias affect their worldview. Unfortunately, we're not great people. We're dudes and ladies posting on a blog about a video rental service that a not-insignificant portion of the world populace can only dream of accessing. While we're doing that, great people are off doing something else.

You dig, brah?

-BP

Shawn

The problem is not all standalone devices support soft subtitles(overlaid on the video) and with 30,000 shows on Instant Watch it will take a long time to add subtitles. Right now only some TV shows have CC and will only work on your PC.

I know it must be frustrating if you are deaf but give Netflix and the CE industry time to implement.

Mr Nethead

As a hard-of-hearing person, I find it silly that this lawsuit is being filed NOW. Netflix has the technology and are in the process of implementing it, so all of the streaming titles are going to have captions eventually anyway.

Did Netflix take longer than they should have in implementing captions on their streaming titles? Yes, I believe they did. But I dealt with the situation by renting DVDs and pretty much ignoring the instant watch feature.

It was frustrating waiting for Netflix to act. I often wished there was a way I could politely remind them that the deaf and hard-of-hearing were still out there and waiting. I think for many of us, there was a feeling that Netflix was ignoring us and that's why so many people got angry.

Shawn

How CC works:
All TV shows in the US must have CC and all TV's must decode it. It is sent in line 21 of a analog signal, where your TV decodes the signal. Newer HDTV's with a ATSC tuner decode the digital signal a similar way. The problem is CC is not supported on PC monitors or via HDMI so they must use subtitles which takes a long time for a software writer to transcribe one show. Netflix uses Microsoft Silverlight which supports CC but that only works on your PC.

If you want subtitles right now then rent the DVD/BD or connect your PC to your TV.

Pete

RIDICULOUS!! Seems like as Netflix gets more popular/successful all the roaches are coming out from under their rocks looking for $$$

ZarathustrA

I never thought I'd agree with you, BP, but well said. That comment is aimed at all three of your posts.

Nice death threats, Brandi. Wow.

can't stand trolls

To Peter,

Stop watching movies that will piss off your wife! The only reason why people EVER complain to Netflix about the instantly watching history is because they do NOT want to be caught by their significant other over the content they are watching. If you don't like it, cancel.

Caitlyn

What people don't realise, is just like with DVD's, Netflix is just given content, as is, and is not responsible for retro-fitting it with closed captions. They have to get new copies now with closed captions, and also have the NRD manufacturers go through and adjust the apps and push updates to each NRD separately, which is why it's so time consuming.
So, while Netflix is working on it (getting content with subtitles or captions and moving it to each NRD), it's up to the studios to provide the content with closed captioning or subtitles.

Anonymous1111

Next thing you know they will be suing movie theaters because there is no captioning.

Marc

When I think of ADA, I remember all of the survivors of 9/11 telling the horror stories, of passing people in wheel chairs, as the made their escape down the stair wells.

ADA killed then all!

While I agree that we as a society should (must) do everything in our power to help make life better for people with disabilities, the disabled need to accept the limitations placed on them by their disabilities.

I have a disability, but you'll never know it, because I know what I can and CAN'T do.

Marc

Pete

Theres no audio commentaries on Netflix films: IM SUING!!!

Rocketboy

@Smy... Also, in my perfect world, people would know the difference between Your and You're, but that is never going to happen either.

But keep living in a world where someone can get sued, and some lawyer can make a living by finding hotels that have a coat hook one inch too low.

Anonymouse

I think there is something that people are missing. You can add subtitles to any movie over the PC and it's very easy to do, there is an article on this site that explains how.

As for only the PC having subtitles, I don't think that's true at all. I've definitely seen them on the Wii, and I believe that I've seen it on my xbox too. Maybe I'm in some A/B test cell, but I don't think that is the case.

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