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Re: NAD vs. Netflix ruling

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From: Bevi Chagnon
Date: Jun 28, 2012 10:26AM


I think what we're discussing is who is responsible for ensuring that the
public version of content is accessible.

It seems that the answer is "it depends." We have 2 parties involved in the
production and distribution of movies in this case, 1) Netflix who
distributes the content, and 2) the movie studios who create and own the
content.

In this Netflix case, if the movie that Netflix received was already
captioned but Netflix failed to include (or pass along) the captioning in
their streamed version, then Netflix is remiss. It had the captioning but
didn't include it in the streamed version to its customers.

But if the original movie didn't contain captioning, then Netflix isn't
fully to blame. The owners and creators of the movie, the studios, should
provide the captioning of their content. Ideally, Netflix should refuse to
sell any content that isn't captioned, but that would be economic suicide
for a commercial entity like them: 1) studios will be po'd and Netflix will
lose its position when negotiating future contracts with studios, and 2)
Netflix customers will be po'd because they can't get the content they want.

Donna wrote: " 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?"

To clarify, yes and no.
Yes, the photographer is responsible for creating the alt-text on the photo.
And no, it's the web manager responsibility to make sure the alt-text is
there on the website. I don't think web managers (and their cousins, graphic
designers in the print/PDF world) should be writing Alt-text, only ensuring
that it's there.

These are 2 different parts of the workflow, and therefore 2 different
points of responsibility.

We have to move part of the responsibility to whoever is creating the
content: writers, editors, authors of scientific material, subject matter
experts, photographers, illustrators. If you're an expert who writes the
report on "the effects of gamma rays on marigolds," then you better write
the Alt-text for your complex bar charts of scientific data that support
your research. The web manager is only the gatekeeper, making sure that the
Alt-text is passed along to the website.

Summary:
Our laws need to clarify who's responsible for what. My suggestion:
1) Content creators must provide Alt-text/captioning for their material
(movies, graphics, illustrations, etc.). and,
2) Content distributors (web managers, print graphic designers, editors)
must ensure the Alt-text/captioning is provided on the website, in the PDF,
in the Word file, in the streamed file, etc.

- Bevi
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