Last week, the Department of Justice issued its final ruling on regulations for movie theaters showing digital films to provide closed captioning and video description. The rule amends Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits public accommodations from discriminating against individuals with disabilities, and will go into effect January 17, 2017.
The Department found that despite movie studios regularly providing closed captions and video description as a part of their Digital Cinema Package (DCP), they were not consistently made available at all theaters or showings to patrons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or low-vision.
In addition to requiring hardware acquisition, theaters will need to provide a minimum number of captioning and description devices for patrons. The minimum number of devices increases with the number of auditoriums per venue.
Compliance for theaters showing digital movies prior to the ruling must be met by June 2, 2018. At this time, no specific requirements are imposed for theaters that exclusively screen analog movies, however any theaters that convert from an analog to a digital projection system subsequent to the ruling must comply with these requirements by December 2, 2018 or within 6 months of the completed installation of the new system, whichever is later.
For producers looking to deliver a fully accessible DCP for their feature films, CaptionMax can provide a streamlined workflow for closed captioning and video description, including mixes for 5.1 surround sound. Adding these services can expand the potential reach of your content to approximately 50 million Americans who are deaf or blind, leading to larger crowds at the box office.