What the Law Says

Be sure you read down below what it says about web based videos, internet, etc. under Telecommunication Act….Section 508

Americans With Disabilities Act – ADA

  • ·       In 1990 the ADA was signed into law
  • ·       It required video and tapes in an educational & instructional setting had to be made accessible to those with hearing impairment and/ or deaf.
  • ·       It includes state and local governments and some private organizations
  • ·       It mandates the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids & services where necessary.


Telecommunciations Act of 1996

In 1990 every TV manufacturer was mandated to provide the option of closed captions on every TV manufactured over 12″.    In 1996 Congress required video programming distributors to provide the option of closed captions on their TV programs which includes:

  • ·       cable operators;
  • ·       broadcasters;
  • ·       satellite distributors; and,
  • ·       other multi-channel video programming distributors.


In 1998 Congress made some additional amendments in the Rehabilitation Act and required all Federal agencies to make their electronic & information technology accessible to all people with disabilities.  The law applies to all Federal agencies when they begin the development process, procure, maintain or use any electronic and information technology. 


Under Section 508 it says, all agencies shall give disabled employees and other disabled members of the public access to information comparable to what is accessible to the general public.  That includes:


Technical Standards

  • ·       Software applications and operating systems;
  • ·       Web-based intranet and internet information and systems;
  • ·       Telecommunication products;
  • ·       Video and multimedia products;
  • ·       Self contained, closed products; and,
  • ·       Desktop and portable computers.

Functional Performance Criteria

Information, Documentation & Support


I interpret that to mean in the Internet Marketing (IM) and Email Marketing (EM) systems … where there are videos… they need to be captioned. 


In IM & EM many programs are offered by Click Bank on how to increase income from the comforts of one’s home by selling information on the internet.   There are many programs that have video instructions.   These video instructions, if I interpret this correctly, need to be captioned.  Who should pay for it?   The developer of the program.  He’s the one who creates the program and Click Bank promotes the program to vendors who sell the program.  All of the videos should be captioned by the developer prior to being promoted by Click Bank.


There is a lot of frustration with buyers of these programs, who buy them from the vendor who is just a salesman and in most cases does not even know how to use the product himself.   This creates anger and frustration in the buyer because there are too many videos, and they seem to leave a step out in the production and when the buyer attempts to reach the salesman he is unreachable because he doesn’t know how to work the program himself.    Did anyone get that “ah ha” feeling yet?  Where are the captions to all the EM & IM programs that contain videos?  


This office has contacted Click Bank and asked them to have the developer provide captions to the videos by way of a button to click such as what they already have in operation for converting English to other languages.   We all know that process begins with a script and the script should be on that list as an option.   We are awaiting their response.   But they will allow customers to cancel the project and refund their money if done within 60 days.   That’s not the way to solve a problem.  The problem is the videos are not captioned.   Do we still have people breaking the law here?


So the next question is:  Who pays for the captioning? 

Admittedly, it is expensive but it is a part of learning needs for many students as much as the need for an instructor, books, paper and pen.  It’s a part of the system.  We interpret this law to mean… in any educational & instructional situation if there is a student in the room who has hearing impairment then the caption service needs to be provided regardless of where it is being held.   With over 40 million people with nerve loss in the U.S. between the age of 20 – 59 there just might be a student in just about every classroom setting with hearing loss.  We have more teenagers with hearing loss than ever before in history due to the loud music they listen to all day and sometimes all night with directly ear pieces.  Hearing loss is no longer age related….not since the 70’s when the loud rock music hit the scene.   If our interpretation is correct then those who are in charge of the organization need to pay for the services.   Almost all the teenagers entering the job market have training on the computers and they would be able to work from home should they choose, that is, if we can get the developers of these projects to caption all their videos.


When it says … any educational & instructional situation….that does not necessarily eliminate seminars, conventions, medical appointments, board meetings and the like.  These are all educational & instructional situations.   Additionally, education does not stop with a diploma it goes on for a lifetime of learning.   We all need to be more mindful of how the law in Section 508 is interpreted.  And, if it doesn’t meet our need, we need to do something about that and get it changed.   Those with hearing impairment, slow writers, dyslexia all should have equal opportunity to learn.









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