If you have been following the Lipreading Mom Internet Captions Campaign, you know that I believe all network Websites should caption their videos for the thousands of people in the U.S. with hearing loss. Now one of those networks has been sued.
A lawsuit has been brought about in California against CNN and its parent company, Time Warner, regarding lack of video captions on its Website. This suit alleges that while CNN does caption its television programming, it fails to caption what it broadcasts online.
After reading the above article, answer these questions for me:
1) Do you think the case against CNN/Time Warner is a viable one and, if so, why?
2) What has been your experience with watching programs on the CNN Website?
3) What impact do you think this lawsuit will have on online media?
Allow Lipreading Mom to answer these questions first.
The Lawsuit is Viable
Through the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, online programs that have originally been captioned on TV *must* be captioned on the Internet. Has CNN done this? No. The lawsuit is viable in that it upholds the new accessibility law.
CNN Didn’t Caption the Presidential Primaries
In my attempts to watch the U.S. presidential primaries on CNN.com—as well as FoxNews.com and MSNBC.com—none of these Websites featured captioned broadcasts. I had no idea what any of these sites’ news clips discussed online because they weren’t captioned and I have hearing loss. That makes me a non-fan of CNN and the other two networks.
Money (and Bad Publicity) Talks
Will the lawsuit against CNN forge change in whether other networks provide online captions? Some, probably. Lipreading Mom thinks that the gradual implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Accessibility Act will be reinforced by more lawsuits, such as the one against CNN. No network wants to lose revenue or viewership based on a lawsuit—but that could likely happen if multiple lawsuits arise in support of online captioning. In other words: The more lawsuits, the more money lost. And CNN can’t afford to lose more viewers to competing networks.
A Message for CNN
The deaf and hearing loss community have only scratched the surface in making a point about equal accessibility with online programming. If this network is unwilling to heed the warning brought by the California lawsuit, then God help that network—because more lawsuits will come.
Join the Lipreading Mom Internet Captions Campaign
In partnership with the Collaboration for Communication Access via Captioning (CCAC), Lipreading Mom has gathered volunteers worldwide to advocate for universal online captions. Join the Campaign, tell others about the Campaign, and continue writing to networks, such as CNN, that their Website programming must be captioned.