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Nic Peterson 9

Hey deaf people, these things take time and money. calm down, we dont need to get the lawyers involved.


@Nic Peterson 9: Huh, what did you say?

Brian Kohn

Actually, we do need to get the lawyers involved. Netflix and the rest have had years to address this. The well-established standard is that a service must provide closed captioning according to the law within four years of its introduction, a milestone Netflix reaches nationwide in a few weeks. By shirking their responsibilities in this regard, they are exploiting the fact that the law hasn't been rewritten yet to explicitly mention streaming.

This kind of cynical effort to side-step a law, by claiming that a law written decades ago doesn't explicitly mention them, requires effective response - requires lawyers - to get Netflix and the rest to do the right thing.

And to be fair: Netflix is doing the best, even though they're doing poorly. All other video service providers must be forced to comply as well. If they cannot afford to spend the "time and money" to provide reasonable accommodation under the law, then our nation's clear and unequivocal standard is that they should not be allowed to operate.

Disabled people are not second-class citizens, and shouldn't be treated as such, and the suggestion that they should "calm down" is not only offensive, but a morally reprehensible show of callousness.

Dude Some

I can understand that streaming is pretty new and will take time to implement fully. What is really annoying are the DVDs that do not have closed captioning at all or if they do have closed captioning but it is in Spanish, French and Portugese!

Breaking Bad is an example of this. They say some things on this show that we have NO idea what was said. Closed captioning helps on other shows that have low talking or fast talking dialogue and I wish Netflix would ensure it was available on all DVDs.


Netflix is in the wrong here. There's really nothing else to say.


That's debatable. I expect the results of this case to be underwhelming (if it even gets to court; they'll probably settle). NetFlix might be required to provide captions on streaming devices within four years of the release of each device (which is about this time next year for the Roku, later for others), and possibly never required to provide captions on the PC.

Arguably NetFlix would have done that anyway. The end result - the lawyers end up making a lot of money (ultimately costing us) and accomplish nothing.


I'm not talking about the court case. I agree that's a long and pointless battle.

I think this has become a more personal fight than anything else; Reed Hasting's style of management is similar to Steve Jobs. The more the NAD attacks Netflix, the more intractable Netflix is going to be. Sure they'll put out information showing their efforts and progress but if Hastings wanted to make this a priority, it would be done. I think they're annoyed at NAD and now that they've been sued, it's going to be an even lesser priority.

People like Hastings and Jobs always say it's about business, but in fact they take things extremely personally. IMHO.


Bogart Bumquest

I am sorry, but I am illiterate and do not understand ASL. Am I able to sue NAD.org for not offering audio on their youtube statement regarding suing Netflix?

The fact that NAD is comparing CC to wheel chair ramps is an insult to paraplegic people. Is getting CC as important as your access to the job site, grocery store, school, library, hospital?

Lastly, ADA Title III - "In the case of private clubs, the clubs themselves are not obligated to provide reasonable accommodations, but they can be held liable if the facilities they rent or lease out to the public are not accessible." Becoming a member of Netflix should qualify as joining a private club.


Maybe I could understand a little if Netflix offered nothing, but after the feature has been added and Netflix is putting some serious effort into getting more and more titles supported... Now? Now?? they're sueing? It doesn't make any sense to me.


Is there a specific reason why existing CC data-say for a tv series that's already been captioned, can't be transferred when the show is encoded in the first place?

Aka Darrell

Is this OP relating a new lawsuit or is it the [Their capitoning.] THE WESTON FIRM's class action "NATIONWIDE CLASS ACTION FILED AGAINST NETFLIX;

BTW there are many reasons to want subtitles and CC. The list from streightdope.com: "
We have come up with the following needs: (1) hearing impaired, (2) courtesy and deference to others like roommates and persons living or sleeping nearby, (3)inability to understand the language or dialect, (4) students studying languages especially ESL students, (5) leveling out the sound level such as when the music is too loud and the dialogue to quiet. (6)[some] prefer it. (7)bars/gyms/restaurants. Anywhere where X could be playing in the background without volume (8)you live with someone who will not shut. the. fuck. up. (9)for argumentative friends to confirm what the person actually said, (10) Because I can't ask the actors "Say that again?" and it sucks to be playing with the rewind button, missing the scene by a few seconds, fast forwarding it again and missing it by another second, etc. (11) mixed-language movies/shows where subtitles are an integral part of language accessibility. (12)[Very useful I think.] watching a DVD with commentary, I'll turn on the subtitles since the sound of the program dialog is usually muted while the commentary track is running and I still want to be able to follow what's going on.(13) Because everyone else in the house gets all the other TVs, (14) chips or popcorn or something else with a loud crunch during a dialog heavy scene (15)Sometimes closed captioning is amusing."


Dude Some: You are referring to subtitles. Subtitles and closed captions are different. I can't remember seeing a DVD that did not have closed captions on it. You have to turn on the *TV'S* closed captioning (not in the DVD menus) to get that closed captioning... and I believe you have to connect via composite since the closed captions (which are a hack in the analog signal) aren't carried in other types of connections like HDMI. You would need subtitles if your only connection was via HDMI for example.


Nic Peterson 9 the fool.
Netflix and Roku have been sitting on their collective asses regarding CC and subtitles
for years now.
Great to see someone taking control of this.
Now Netflix can get off it's ass and walk to court.
Better late than never.


The ADA is a disaster that costs business a ton of money to kowtow to a very small, yet often whiny, minority. How does a person somehow think it's their federally protected right to watch episodes of The A Team? It's absurd. I can't even imagine how much time, effort, money, and new technology Netflix most likely has to put into effect to caption every single video stream. And why should they be force to anyway?

It's nice to have, but federal law? It's insane. Remember,this is the same law people have used to demand that comedy clubs provide a person doing ASL off to the side of the stage for the hearing impaired.


They can go after the BBC next.


I agree with @Bogart
Streaming video is not a "right" you have in this country.It's a free market if you don't like it take your money somewhere else.
To force a company to do something as non-critical as this is a waste of time and money. If the company wants to do this fine, but to sue them...


Not to sound like a radical right wing loon about this, but I am sick and tired of this entitlement mentality of people today. The lawyers are getting rich over dumb lawsuits like this. There are plenty of streaming titles available with captions, besides there is always the DVD or BR which will have captions. I hope this frivolous and petty lawsuit gets thrown out of court.


Benwaynet, we don't live in a free market or anything even close. We live in a highly regulated society that affords and protects the rights of many citizens ranging from racial minorities to the disabled to ding dongs like yourself.

The truth is that the "free market" probably wouldn't give a rat's ass about the deaf population and that's exactly why we have laws protecting them.

There are plenty of countries where it's truly a free market - the aggressive and corrupt are free and rich and everyone else eats shit. If that sounds good to you maybe visit one of their embassies and ask about immigrating there...


I think Netflix should respond by removing all captioning until the issue is settled.


@Nic They have been patient for years and Netflix has been dragging their feet on this with a lot of broken promises and misguiding press releases.

@MattChance Seriously?? bad form basing humor on a person's disability.

@BrianKohn - Not sure if the 4 year rule appies specifically here.


@gir Actually PC & Mac Web Browsers were the first to offer subtitling out of all Netflix platforms (in April 2010). It is not only a platforms ability to show the captioned code but the code being added to *all* Netflix titles that is the issue. (Roku and XBox have been promised by the end of the year.)

@BogartBumquest Try being deaf or hard of hearing for a year and maybe you will start to understand. You do, however, bring up an interesting point, the courts need to decide exactly how Netflix & other web-based businesses should be categorized: Private Clubs or Public Places of Business. Clubs are exempt from the ADA but businesses are not.

@Jonathan thing are a bit better but very slow going and misleading. The 30% figure given on the Netflix Blog back in February had no data to back it up. My own count at the time showed a figure of less than 10%, though their 3500 titles figure was accurate (counting individual episodes). Only now (over 4 months later) have they barely reached 30% by 1 method of counting (depending on how the numers are crunched, it is also 28% and 17%).

@Webbermom - Good Question. Netflix is really poor at communicating the obsticles they are facing. Experts in the captioning field have explained to me that part of the delay is licensing of the captioning data. Content providers have very specific licenses for the display & distribution of the captioning data (which is normally produced by a third-party vendor and is rarely done in-house) beyond the original broadcast. If the original license did not include Internet Display & Distribution rights, a new license (and additional royalty fees to the Captioning Agency) would have to be agreed to. If they are not able to come to terms to reach an agreement with the original provider, they can contract with a new provider to develop a new data-set for the captioning to appear.

@Aka Darrell - The Weston Firm's suit is based in California. The suit mentioned in the article is in the Northeast and is brought by a different group. Love your list! Many people will benenfit, not just the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

@repdetect - Actually Roku has their hardware ready to accept captioning from all providers (and several non-Netflix content providers *do* have some captioned content that will display on the Roku) , they can do nothing about the Netflix app directy. They have to wait for Netflix to provide the software upgrade that will be compatible with the Roku hardware and display captions.

@www.face... - the disabled people in America do not want SPECIAL treatment, they just want equal treatment. in their eyes, it is like pre-civil rights era where African-American people were not allowed in certain businesses and not allowed access to certain facilities, making them second class citizens. The disabled are fighting against being treated that same way.

@Benway... - I am sure some white people in the 1960s thought that eating at lunch counters was not a "right" either!


FYI, There are more platforms with the capability than there is liisted on the Netflix Site. Western Digital, Panasonic, & Samsung all have devices that now show Netflix subtitles/captioning.

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