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In 2016, the number of lawsuits for digital accessibility increased dramatically. With the court cases and settlements of that and previous years, the legal message is loud and clear: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to digital services and the Department of Justice (DOJ) is enforcing that.

That message was heard across many industries in 2016, including some big names in video streaming services and other entertainment providers

Netflix

Netflix reached an agreement with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) to provide audio description for some of its titles through its DVD rental and streaming services. An audio description is a second, concurrent audio track that narrates the action on screen for users who are blind.

Hulu

The video streaming service Hulu reached an agreement in September to provide closed captioning on all its programming in English and Spanish by September 2017. The agreement was reached with the National Association of the Deaf, who also negotiated closed captioning agreements with Netflix and Amazon in earlier years.

In-Flight Entertainment and Movies

In December, the US Department of Transportation reached an agreement with the National Association of the Deaf to provide closed captioning and audio description on all in-flight entertainment. In November, the DOJ published a final rule to clarify that movie theaters that show digital movies must provide closed captioning or audio descriptions for movies that have those features available.


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2016 Legal Landscape Update: Streaming Services and Entertainment

Content provided by Level Access is intended for general information and education. The materials and facts presented do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in the face of pending litigation. If you have specific legal questions, please contact a lawyer.