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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Movie Captioning and Video Description

Nancy Lee Jones
Legislative Attorney

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a broad civil rights statute prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination by public accommodations, which are defined to include movie theaters, but the statute does not include specific language on closed captioning or video description. Although the Department of Justice (DOJ) has promulgated regulations under Title III, it has not specifically addressed issues regarding closed captioning or video description. However, DOJ has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to establish requirements for closed captioning and video description for movie theaters. The ANPR asks for input in several areas including the implications of a sliding compliance schedule, and the appropriate basis for calculating the number of movies that will be captioned and video described. In addition, the Ninth Circuit, in the first court of appeals case to address the issue, held that the ADA requires the provision of closed captioning and descriptive narration in movie theaters unless to do so would be a fundamental alteration or an undue burden.

Date of Report: February 22, 2011
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: R41659
Price: $19.95

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