Dakota Center for Independent Living

Movie Theaters Will Soon Be Required to Provide Closed Captioning & Audio Descriptions on All Movies

On July 23, the Attorney General signed the Department’s Notice of Proposed Rule-making (NPRM). This proposal will be an amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act title III regulation to provide closed movie captioning and audio description to give people with hearing and vision impairments access to movies.

What is closed captioning and audio description? Well, closed movie captioning provides text to describe the movie to someone with a hearing impairment. Audio description provides spoken narration of key visual elements of the movie to someone with a vision impairment using a wireless headset. Audio descriptions include narration of actions, settings, expressions, costumes, and scene changes.

The Department is working to provide a nationwide standard for movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed movie captioning and audio description for all showings of movies that are available with closed movie captioning or audio description. This rule would not require an independent obligation on movie theaters to add captions or audio description to movies that are not already available with those features.

ADA title III requires movie theaters and other public accommodations to provide effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services. This rule-making would specify requirements movie theaters will need to meet in order to satisfy their effective communication obligation.

Do you have an opinion on the NPRM? If so, visit regulations.gov. They will have a comment period open until September 30, 2014 and want to hear from you.

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