If you’ve read my last post, I’ve been working on a paper about libraries captioning uncaptioned, yet copyrighted, videos. I wondered where to find the darn law that required producers to release captioned DVDs.
Turns out, there’s no such law. Seriously. I looked everywhere. It’s definitely not under FCC purview, since they control the airwaves and not DVDs, until it’s broadcast over the air (or through cable, however you get it). Similarly for other entities–if they show videos, they’re required to show the captioned version for ADA purposes.
And yet, the companies aren’t required to caption their video products. To me, that seems to be a key piece of the process. How can you expect broadcasters and video-displayers to comply with ADA laws and FCC laws if what they are showing is not captioned? Fortunately, most producers realize that people with hearing difficulties make up a huge segment of the market, and want to make equal amounts of money off of us as they do others.
Yet, what to do about those producers who don’t release a captioned product? Market pressures can go only so far. Sometimes we simply need regulations to ensure fairness.
This paper is one of the more challenging papers I’ve written, mostly because I’m a total noob when it comes to legalese. Part of me hopes that I can even get it published and get it on LexisNexis, just so I can help the lawyers argue to fix copyright laws and captioning laws to simplify this thorny area.