I recently discovered that NBC now has some old episodes of the Emergency series posted on their website. As a kid, I loved that show, even though I had to lipread my way through it. This was before the days of captioning on TV. And today, I feel like I’m right back in the 70s– because there’s no captioning on the TV episodes that are displayed on the web.
Representative Ed Markey introduced the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 on June 26, 2009. Quite simply, the bill has this as the goal: “To ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to emerging Internet Protocol-based communication and video programming technologies in the 21st century.”
In other words, it means that if I want to see old episodes of The Tonight Show or waste time watching Deal or No Deal– that I would have access to those episodes just like everyone else.
Isn’t 30 years a long time to wait for captions on the web?
Keep in mind, this doesn’t apply to user-generated content. So if you toss a video on YouTube, no one is going to make you caption it. But I sure would appreciate the access if you decided to make your content accessible. And something else to think about: someday your own hearing might go south and you’d appreciate a captioned web.
The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology has a petition to sign. Jamie Berke has a blog with tons of info: Caption Action 2. Over on Facebook, a group has gathered to push the grassroots effort and get this bill passed. Won’t you come and join us?
Of course, just clicking on a Facebook group isn’t going to get a bill passed, but there is strength in numbers. Facebook helped to save a deaf school from closing.
I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking, “Not another bill, Karen.” But here’s the deal–if you contact your Senators and ask them to start a similar bill and contact your Representatives to support H.R. 3101 and help me get this passed and into the law books, I promise I won’t bother you again for a while.
I’ll be too busy catching up on those Emergency episodes.