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Accessibility Laws Expand All
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is a broad law that requires all federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and the public. For online video, this means that closed captions must be added. For podcasts or audio files, a transcript is sufficient. For more information, download the white paper Sections 508 and 504: Closed Captioning and Web Accessibility Requirements
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act entitles people with disabilities to equal access to any program or activity that receives federal subsidy. Web-based communications for educational institutions and government agencies are covered by this as well. For more information, download the white paper Sections 508 and 504: Closed Captioning and Web Accessibility Requirements
The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), signed into law in 2010, expands closed caption requirements for all online video that previously aired on television with closed captions. For more information, download the white paper CVAA Online Video Captioning Requirements and Deadlines. Also, see the white paper FCC Updates for Closed Captioning of Online Video.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. It applies to the public sector and commercial entities that are “places of public accommodation”. For more information, download the white paper How the ADA Impacts Video Accessibility
Many states have adopted Section 508 regulations into their own laws (“little 508’s”), requiring state government entities to comply with federal accessibility standards. Some states have created their own accessibility laws either based on Section 508 or other standards. See the accessibility laws for each state.
WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is a set of web accessibility guidelines published by the W3C, which is the main standards organization for the worldwide web. WCAG is the most widely adopted standard for creating accessible web content. Although in the U.S. it is not yet backed by law, the U.S. Access Board recently proposed to include WCAG in the upcoming Section 508 refresh. WCAG has also been voluntarily accepted by numerous organizations and educational institutions. It has been referenced by laws in 14 countries and the EU. Learn more about WCAG.
An interactive transcript doesn’t necessarily replace closed captions, but it does provide time-synchronized text, which satisfies accessibility requirements for people with hearing disabilities. Learn more about interactive transcripts
A PowerPoint presentation with a voice-over should be treated as a video and requires closed captions or an interactive transcript. A plain transcript is not sufficient because the text must be time-synchronized with the slides.