Video Accessibility for Compliance
Updated: May 14, 2021
In order for a company to be in compliance with major accessibility laws and standards, it must ensure its video content is made accessible.
Video accessibility compliance is the adherence to the rules and regulations set forth by governing bodies on the equal access of visual media by all users, including those with disabilities.
It’s imperative that businesses are aware of and understand the laws and standards surrounding accessibility, but also to be in compliance with them at all times.
Failure to comply can result in lawsuits, fines, reputational damage, and much more. For businesses that have influential and well-respected brands, they can’t afford such losses.
Let’s discuss the major video accessibility laws and standards and how 3Play can help solve the compliance needs for your business.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is a broad anti-discrimination law enacted by former President George H.W. Bush in 1990. It protects American citizens from discrimination on the basis of disability.
Under the ADA, video accessibility is a requirement. Although it doesn’t explicitly call for captions or audio description for video content, it does require “auxiliary aids” in communications.
The ADA is composed of five titles – each title representing a different sector of society. Titles II and III are often referenced when talking about video accessibility.
Title II prohibits discrimination by public entities such as libraries, courthouses, and schools. These entities must provide auxiliary aids and services in order to ensure effective communication, and public videos must be made accessible.
Title III prohibits discrimination by places of public accommodation. This includes places like hotels, museums, restaurants, etc. Title III requires that a person with a disability must have equal access to these places of public accommodation. Therefore, if video is provided, it must be accessible.
Organizations that create video shown in-person and/or online must adhere to the ADA and its requirements. 3Play has helped our customers make their video content accessible through our video accessibility services. Ultimately, we worry about compliance so our customers don’t have to.
The Rehabilitation Act
The Rehabilitation Act is a U.S. law enacted in 1973 and prohibits disability discrimination by federal agencies and organizations that receive federal funding.
More specifically, Sections 504 and 508 apply to web and video accessibility. While Section 504 declares civil rights for people with disabilities, Section 508 sets requirements for accessible technology.
Section 504 requires that an organization receiving federal funding must provide accommodations for people with disabilities. This includes public libraries, colleges and universities, assisted housing, and more.
Section 508 requires that federal agencies provide accommodations for internal and external communications, including online video. This means that organizations must provide alternative, accessible information technology to disabled employees and members of the public.
If your organization is a government agency or one that receives funding from the government, it’s important to understand to be in compliance with the Rehabilitation Act.
At 3Play, we offer video accessibility tools such as captioning, audio description, transcription, and more, that comply with the Rehabilitation Act. We work with a number of government agencies, including at the state and local levels, to ensure that citizens have equal access to important resources.
The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
The CVAA is another major accessibility law signed in 2010 by former President Barack Obama to ensure technology and media programming are accessible.
This law was set forth so that online video previously aired on television is made accessible with captions and audio description.
Video that was only published online doesn’t have to be made accessible under the CVAA, but will have to be under the ADA.
The CVAA is an important law to be aware of, especially for companies in the media and entertainment industries. 3Play Media partners with media companies to ensure that their content is accessible to viewers with disabilities. We help them to be in compliance with the CVAA so they can focus on producing content.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an agency under the United States government that regulates national and international communications by radio, television, streaming media, etc.
Under its accessibility program, it references Section 508 which requires that information and communication technology be made accessible to all viewers. Since the FCC is a government agency, it must be in compliance with Section 508.
The FCC also enforces compliance of the CVAA and clarifies the law when necessary.
The FCC provides four aspects of quality to ensure viewers with disabilities have an equitable viewing experience: accuracy, synchronicity, program completeness, and placement.
Quality is a big part of the way we approach video accessibility at 3Play. We guarantee 99% accuracy on all files – regardless of difficulty.
Accuracy is a big part of compliance. It’s not enough to simply provide video accessibility but to provide it in a way that is truly useful for the viewer. We want to ensure that your viewers can clearly understand the information you produce and accuracy is an essential part of that.
It’s important to understand the standards set by the FCC and the following resource dives deeper into how it impacts video accessibility compliance.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Last, but not least, WCAG is an international accessibility standard created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to provide guidance on web and video accessibility.
WCAG is referenced in the U.S. under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. It’s also internationally recognized by world governments and organizations.
The most up-to-date version of WCAG is 2.1, however, there is a working draft for WCAG 3.
Most laws and policies around the world reference WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This means that you must provide captions, live captions, and audio description to be compliant.
In order for video content to be an equivalent experience for users with disabilities, WCAG requires it to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
3Play adheres to the standards provided by WCAG so that our customers can be in compliance with every file and give all viewers the best viewing experience possible.
Investing in Video Accessibility Compliance
No matter what industry you’re in and as long as you’re creating video content, it must be accessible to be in compliance with the major laws.
We understand that understanding the various laws and standards can seem like a daunting task, but with 3Play as your video accessibility partner, we make it simple for our customers. We worry about it so that you don’t have to!
When your business is compliant, it saves time, money, and resources to focus on doing what you do best: creating valuable content for your audience.
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