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Re: NAD vs. Netflix ruling

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From: Donna Lettow
Date: Jun 28, 2012 7:29AM


Bev wrote:
>RE: Netflix and its video content, I don't think it was wise to target Netflix in this lawsuit.
>Wouldn't it be more appropriate for the movie studio to build the captioning into the files from the start?

I doubt "the studio" is creating the specific streaming files that Netflix uses in its proprietary business. I'm pretty certain that's all Netflix. Netflix licenses the rights to the film from the studio -- they're not purchasing a physical product (one specific electronic file) they then turn around and put on the Internet untouched. The studio has already created the captions -- they're on the DVDs. The onus is on Netflix to pass those captions along in their product.

Besides, wouldn't that be like saying the onus is on the photographer, not the web manager, to make sure there is alternate text on the photo?

Ryan wrote:
>I think there is an interesting irony here. In the movie industry, there is something that every movie has to include before they get started.
>It's called a screenplay and surprise, surprise - the writing is all documented there.

Actually, a screenplay is usually very different from a finished film. I worked in film and TV production for a decade before moving back east, and you'd be surprised how much of a movie is created whole cloth in the editing and dubbing rooms. As a matter of fact, one of my temp jobs between real jobs was going back after a show aired and making accurate "as broadcast" transcripts out of the original shooting scripts for copyright purposes. So it's not like Netflix can take the writer's screenplay, throw it into the Google caption machine, and voila! (However, as noted, the captions are already available on the DVDs -- so they still have no excuse.)

Donna Lettow
Staff Specialist, Electronic Accessibility & Internal Communication
MD Division of Rehabilitation Services
2301 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218
www.dors.state.md.us
410-554-9402
888-554-0334
410-554-9411 (TTY)

-----Original Message-----
From: Bevi Chagnon [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 2:39 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] NAD vs. Netflix ruling

Ignorance is probably a large factor for the negative kickback and racism (or is it accessibility-ism?).
Here in Washington, many federal agency workers have been scared by horror stories about how difficult and time-consuming it is to make a simple Word document accessible, let alone a PDF or website.

What they really need is a course in how to use MS Word correctly and much of the accessibility will be done.
Same thing with building a website: learn CSS and how to use your authoring tools, and many accessibility features will be built in.
It doesn't take much more additional time to polish the accessibility features for the majority of content.

AV content, yes, that's a bit more costly and time-consuming to make accessible but modest tools are now available to do it faster and for a reasonable cost. (Let's not get into Flash content!)

It might help if our part of the industry could do a bit of PR about the benefits of accessibility - that is, benefits to the website owner or content creator, non only the "it's smart business" message, but also "it's not that difficult to do" message.

RE: Netflix and its video content, I don't think it was wise to target Netflix in this lawsuit. Wouldn't it be more appropriate for the movie studio to build the captioning into the files from the start? Why make Netflix, which is not the content creator but rather the delivery vehicle, responsible for accessibility of the content it purchases and sells?
Netflix has a valid argument: they do not own the copyright to the material they sell.

A parallel example: is the website owner responsible for accessibility or the web-hosting company? In this example, Netflix is like a web-hosting company, just the delivery system, not the owner or creator of the content.

There's a good chance the ruling will be struck down in higher courts over this issue of ownership of content and who's responsible for accessibility.

In terms of Netflix's content, the movie/TV studios are already creating the foreign language captioning for international distribution, so why don't they add English captioning at the same time and meet accessibility guidelines?

Question: Is there anything in conventional web streaming or Netflix's streaming technology that makes it more difficult or costly to provide captioning than with non-streamed content (such as CD/DVD)?

- Bevi

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Bevi Chagnon | <EMAIL REMOVED>
PubCom - Trainers, consultants, designers, and developers Print | Web | Acrobat | XML | eBooks | Section 508
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