The ADA is a broad, anti-discrimination law for people with disabilities. Titles II and III of the ADA affect web accessibility and closed captioning.
Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local and state level. Governmental organizations must ensure “effective communication” with citizens, including providing assistive technology or services as needed.
Title III prohibits disability discrimination by “places of public accommodation.” A place of public accommodation covers shared or public entities like libraries, universities, hotels, museums, theaters, transportation services, etc., that are privately owned. Video displayed within or distributed by such places must be captioned.
Both Title II and Title III offer a disclaimer about instances where such accommodation would create an “undue hardship” for the organization. This is often the crux of arguments in ADA lawsuits about whether or not an organization must provide closed captioning. Another point of contention is whether or not a purely online business can be considered a “place of public accommodation.”
Whom this law applies to:
Municipal and state offices and facilities; museums; libraries; schools, colleges & universities; theaters & cinemas; convention centers & arenas; train stations & airports; hotels; parks; hospitals and clinics; pharmacies; restaurants; retail stores & malls; day care facilities; potentially, online services or products that are made publicly available.
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How the ADA Impacts Online Video Accessibility