Suit Asks for Closed-Captioning of Songs in Movies, TV Shows A class-action lawsuit by nine representatives of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community seeks unspecified damages from several studios for failing to caption song lyrics in movies and television shows. The complaint, filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges discrimination against people with hearing impairment and asks that Netflix and ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   January 01, 2016
Suit Asks for Closed-Captioning of Songs in Movies, TV Shows
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Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   January 01, 2016
Suit Asks for Closed-Captioning of Songs in Movies, TV Shows
The ASHA Leader, January 2016, Vol. 21, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.21012016.10
The ASHA Leader, January 2016, Vol. 21, 10. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB1.21012016.10
A class-action lawsuit by nine representatives of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community seeks unspecified damages from several studios for failing to caption song lyrics in movies and television shows.
The complaint, filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges discrimination against people with hearing impairment and asks that Netflix and the studios—including Sony, Fox, Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Universal—be required to include the captions.
The complaint also alleges that lyric-less productions—such as “Captain America,” “The Godfather,” “Skyfall,” “X-Men” and “House of Cards”—are falsely advertised as fully subtitled.
“While the dialogue of some movies or shows are indeed fully subtitled, the practice of not subtitling song/music lyrics is frustratingly widespread,” the complaint states. “Advertising the movies or shows as being captioned or subtitled enlarges the market of the consumers, which includes persons who are deaf or hard of hearing” and who constitute about 10 percent of the population.
“Studios believe that copyright law prohibits them from captioning song lyrics in movies and television shows. That is just flat-out wrong,” said attorney John F. Stanton, chair of the Public Affairs Council of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and author of a 2015 article on the topic in the UCLA Entertainment Law Review. “Courts have made clear that reproducing otherwise copyrighted material for the purpose of making the material accessible to people with disabilities is not a violation of the federal Copyright Act.”
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January 2016
Volume 21, Issue 1