This is the best week ever!
I am so happy that this week, two major lawsuits were filed on Wednesday, June 15th and Thursday, June 16th. This is the best week ever!
To read bit more about the lawsuit against CNN.com, here.
For almost three years, I have blogged about Netflix and CNN for their failures to provide captioning online. I started on September 15, 2009 with my Open Letter to Netflix since they were planning to release free online streaming show of The Wizard of Oz and I pleaded them to provide captions.
On October 3, 2009, Netflix did not, and I decided to cancel my subscription.
October 19, 2009, Netflix was able to upload “Through Deaf Eyes” documentary video about Deaf Culture for online streaming but it does not contain captions, even though it was captioned on the DVD. I was so furious about this.
November, 19, 2009, Google announced that they will provide automated caption feature for their YouTube videos. It was an imperfect system, but Google was able to prove that they can do it. Also, Disney made a mistake for removing captions from their rental DVD, “Up” and we brought attention to this.
November 22, 2010, one year later, Netflix made an announcement that they were raising prices for DVDs, and encourages customers to use online feature at its lower cost. Hence, Deaf Tax was applied upon us because we are unable to access online captions. This led to the protest against Netflix and one guy named Don Cullen decided to file a class action lawsuit on March 15, 2011.
Then today, June 16, 2011, National Association of the Deaf partnered with state association and two law firms to file a class action lawsuit against Netflix.
Netflix announced that they are adding captions to their videos, and it was too slow. It is not 100% access at all. I purchased iPad2, and it did not show any captions on this device anyway. Same for the original iPad which did not include YouTube captions too. I even produced an open captioned iReport for CNN about iPad. CNN accepted my video, and they just don’t listen. Oh, the irony!
Meanwhile, Netflix was not the only major online website who did not provide 100% captioning to all of their online content, especially the ones who already have captions on their DVDs. Another major website, CNN.com owned by Time Warner, Inc., continues not caption their online video content. Their website comes with online videos without transcripts.
I had a long standing history with CNN, and it all started so many years ago when CNN did not provide real-time captioning on televisions especially during the Desert Storm in 1991.
CNN hosted their first captioned online advertisement on their website, by Capgemini on December 7, 2009.
CNN featured a video from TED.com which usually provides captions with their online content, but CNN did not incorporate it on their website! Ironically, it was about hearing loss!
To summarize this, it is good to know that people do share with my concerns and I am giving a hat-tip to all of the major players who decided to take the legal route.
When push comes to shove is the best idiom to this story. Many of us pushed, and CNN and Netflix just did not listen. We gotta shove them with lawsuits down on their throats. We are tired to be as second class citizens, and we must fight for equality especially having an access to the information online.
Apple? Have you been listening? AARP? Have you been listening? Disney?
ABC Family.com did. They included captions for ABC Family’s “Switched At Birth” videos. Thank you, ABC Family.
Corporations, it is time for you to start listening to us and take action. We do not want to shove lawsuits down on your throats, as we did for CNN.com and Netflix.
Amy Cohen Efron