Netflix, the streaming video service, will have closed captioning for all of its video content by the year 2014. This decision was reached in court today, where the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) filed a lawsuit in 2010 against Netflix. In addition to close captioning 100 percent of its video library, Netflix will also pay over $775,000 in legal fees.
NAD filed the lawsuit against Netflix to advocate for the hearing impaired and took the stance that Netflix’s website and associated services should be considered a “place of public accommodation,” which made Netflix subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Netflix objected to this, arguing that as an online company whose members have to pay to use the service, it isn’t subject to national law.
Netflix already captions 82 percent of its content. By 2013 it will have 90 percent of its library captioned and be 100 percent captioned by 2014. In addition, Netflix has agreed to speedier captioning efforts. It will put captions on new content within 30 days by 2014, within 14 days by 2015, and within 7 days by 2016, while working towards a point where new content will launch simultaneously with captions.
CEO of NAD, Howard Rosenblum, said in a press release that “The National Association of the Deaf congratulates Netflix for committing to 100 percent captioning, and is thrilled to announce that 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people will be able to fully access Netflix’s Watch Instantly services.”