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Technology And Engineering Emmys Recognize Achievements In Non-live Broadband Captioning

Posted by Anna on January 29, 2016 at 10:45 am. CVAA, Captioning
W3C Representatives Holding Their Emmy Award Statue

W3C Representatives Holding Their Emmy Award Statue

Earlier this month, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the 67th annual Technology and Engineering Emmy ® Awards were held.  For the first time, awards were given for the category of Standardization and Pioneering Development of Non-Live Broadband Captioning.  There were a  total of five winners in this category.  Among them was the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international consortium that develops Web standards, recognized for their Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) standard:

“W3C is thrilled to receive a 2016 Emmy ® Award in recognition of technologies that support an important part of our mission to bring the full potential of the World Wide Web to everyone, whatever their disability, culture, language, device or network infrastructure,” said W3C CEO Dr. Jeff Jaffe. “I would like to thank the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for their recognition of W3C, and I congratulate the members of the W3C Timed Text Working Group and the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative on this outstanding achievement.”

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) was recognized for their SMPTE-TT standard, which was largely based on the TTML standard W3C created. The SMPTE-TT was declared a safe harbor interchange and delivery format by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), meaning any captioned video content distributed via the Internet using the SMPTE-TT standard is compliant with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). In their press release, SMPTE director of standards and engineering Peter Symes acknowledged the collective effort and talent that was required to develop SMPTE-TT:

“A SMPTE committee of more than 60 experts from many industry sectors developed the set of standards that provide for authoring captions and for carriage of captions already created for conventional television transmission. SMPTE Members Ann Marie Rohaly, Craig Cuttner, and Mike Dolan, and many other volunteers, have dedicated hours of service to make our work on captioning standards useful to the industry, and their remarkable efforts are deserving of this prestigious award.”

Telestream, Netflix, and Home Box Office (HBO) were also recipients in this category.

Hawaii First State To Require Theaters To Provide Open Captioning And Video Description

Posted by Anna on January 28, 2016 at 11:00 am. Captioning, Movies, Video Description
Consolidated Theatres Ward Stadium 16 in Honolulu

Consolidated Theatres Ward Stadium 16 in Honolulu

A new law went into effect in Hawaii January 1st requiring some theaters to provide open captions and video description.  House Bill 1272, which was signed into law by Governor Ige in May of 2015, requires any theater with more than two locations to provide open captioning. In addition, video description delivered via headsets must be provided upon request.

While closed captioning has been an option in some theaters for several years, there is a distinct advantage to open captions. “You don’t have to have the glasses on that can be cumbersome. You have to align your head just right to get the captioning,” said Billy Kekua, President of the Aloha State Association of the Deaf.

The Hawaii House of Representatives felt positive that the law would benefit a wide range of constituents:

“The law removes communication barriers and provides equal access to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have poor vision through reasonable accommodations at movie theaters. It will also help seniors who have trouble hearing, as well as individuals who are learning English as a second language by providing the written dialogue on screen.”

To mark the occasion, Ward Theaters in Honolulu held the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with open captions and video description at 12:15 p.m. on January 2nd.  Representative James Tokioka, who introduced the bill, was very pleased with the movie selection, stating, “Star Wars covers so many generations that this is a great opportunity and a great fit for the first showing of deaf community for open captioning.”

CaptionMax has been providing clients with high-quality video description for over 13 years. To find out how you can add open or closed description to your content, contact sales@captionmax.com.

Senators, Public Push Obama For Title III Regs

Posted by Anna on January 27, 2016 at 10:30 am. ADA, Captioning
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

In November, the Department of Justice announced they would not be issuing any regulations for website accessibility under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) until fiscal year 2018.  The DOJ began this process with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in 2010. Since then, they have repeatedly delayed delivering regulations. This delay, however, has resulted in a number of direct appeals to the Obama administration.

Minh Vu, who leads Seyfarth Shaw’s ADA Title III Specialty Practice Team, gave a detailed account of one group of senators’ action on behalf of their constituents:

“In late December, nine Democratic senators (Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.)) sent a joint letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that office ‘complete its review’ of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ‘Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking’ (ANPRM) for public accommodations websites, online systems, and other information and communication technologies (ICT).”

Vu explains that while the senators’ specific request goes against proper procedure, the spirit of the letter still demonstrates they “share the frustration of businesses and advocacy groups alike over DOJ’s failure to provide clear and binding regulations on the issue of website and ICT accessibility in a timely fashion.”

And they are not the only ones airing that frustration. Earlier this month, a White House petition was created, asking President Obama to “direct the U.S. Department of Justice to promptly release the ADA Internet regulations.” Unlike the senators’ letter, which specifically advocates adopting the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA as the legal standard for accessible public accommodations websites, the petition does not suggest a specific course of action other than Obama prioritizing this as an urgent civil rights issue. In order to receive a formal response from the White House, it must collect 100,000 signatures by February 11.

While it is unlikely that either of these attempts will have much impact on regulations being issued anytime soon, the fact remains that Title III lawsuits are continuing to rise at a steady pace.

 

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