Thread Subject: Re: Proposal for a newUserPreferenceSettings(Non-Visual)
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From: Barrett, Don
Date: Sun, Jul 29 2007 11:25 AM
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Allen, I too love audio description in the proper venue; let me play devil's advocate for a second though and ask you if you have ever encountered a Federally-produced film or other multimedia which really required it in order to increase comprehension. The original standards gave audio description equal weight to captioning and this has confused a lot of people. Obviously, training multimedia where critical actions are not covered by dialog require audio description, but this is generally pretty rare in the Federal arena. I think we should keep the requirement, but continue to clarify as did the original standard that it "support the agency's mission" (an AV of a birthday party wouldn't be covered), and is also "necessary for the comprehension of the content."
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Hoffman, Allen
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2007 3:34 PM
To: TEITAC Web/Software Subcommittee
Subject: Re: [teitac-websoftware] Proposal for a newUserPreferenceSettings(Non-Visual)
Just curious if we keep audio-description requirements in 508 if we will then run into another of these:
For a service (Audio Description) that opens up a whole new world of information and entertainment for the blind and visually impaired community, the regulation
of audio/video description has raised many questions in the past few years and continues to be an issue that is divisive in a way that closed captioning
never has been.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated that as of April 2002 a certain amount of programming must contain video description, organizations
such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and, somewhat surprisingly, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) were up in arms. A federal
case went before the District of Columbia US Court of Appeals in September, 2002. By November, 2002, a decision had been reached and the rules for audio/video
description were, as described in a statement by the FCC "struck down."
The MPAA's argument focused on the FCC's authority as an agency to enact audio/video rules as well as mandate video description. The FCC took what they
believed was this authority to both enact rules and mandate description from the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which specifically addressed both closed
captioning and audio/video description. According the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, however, the act did not give Congress' consent for the FCC to enact
video rules. Instead, the act only discussed a preliminary enquiry that should be carried out by the FCC to further research the need and specificity of
The NFB's argument focused on what they saw as the failure of the FCC to "assess whether visually impaired persons actually want or need video description
as opposed to rules requiring spoken articulation of on-screen text." The court deemed this argument moot in light of their final ruling that the FCC would
no longer be able to mandate or enact audio/video description rules.Â
For me, as one blind person, having access to audio descriptions, even of varying quality, is an improvement to the currently available information. What i do with it is my business. Since FCC can't apparently rule on such, I due hope we can.
Note, I have not heard a dissenting comment on the audio description requirements to date during these past eleven months or so.
Department of Homeland Security, Office on Accessible Systems & Technology
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