Thursday, October 11, 2012

Netflix and NAD Reach Historic Agreement to Provide 100% Closed Captions in On-Demand

Netflix Inc. and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a non-profit organization, have submitted a joint Consent Decree to a federal court in Springfield, Mass., ensuring closed captions in 100% of Netflix streaming content within two years.

NAD, along with the Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired (WMAD/HI) and Lee Nettles, a deaf Massachusetts resident, brought suit against Netflix seeking that commitment in 2010.
The agreement indicates the parties’ mutual intent to increase access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to movies and television streamed on the Internet. Netflix began its closed-captioning program in 2010. Netflix has increased captioning for 90% of the hours viewed but is now committed to focusing on covering all titles by captioning 100% of all content by 2014.  Captions can be displayed on a majority of the more than 1,000 devices on which the service is available.

Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of NAD, the lead plaintiff in this case, said, “The National Association of the Deaf congratulates Netflix for committing to 100% captioning, and is thrilled to announce that 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people will be able to fully access Netflix’s Watch Instantly services.”
“We have worked consistently to make the broadest possible selection of titles available to Netflix members who are deaf or hard of hearing and are far and away the industry leader in doing so,” said Neil Hunt, Netflix Chief Product Officer. “We are pleased to have reached this agreement and hope it serves as a benchmark for other providers of streaming video entertainment.”

Netflix will also improve its interface so that subscribers will be better able to identify content that has been captioned in the period until 100% captioning is achieved.  The parties have asked the court to maintain jurisdiction of the case for four years to assure compliance with the terms of the Decree, and plaintiffs will monitor Netflix’s progress.

“We’re so pleased that Netflix worked jointly with plaintiffs to devise a reasonable and workable way to achieve 100% captioning. The Decree is a model for the streaming entertainment industry,” said Arlene Mayerson, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund’s Directing Attorney. “DREDF hopes that this is the beginning of opening the internet for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in streamed entertainment, education, government benefits, and more.”

The Consent Decree is available here: regarding National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Netflix, Case No. 3:11-cv-30168.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund in Berkeley, CA, the Oakland, CA law firm Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson P.C., and the Boston, MA law firm Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C.

Netflix is represented by David F. McDowell and Jacob M. Harper of Morrison & Foerster LLP.


ReadEasy Move for People with Vision Disabilities

GW Micro announces the ReadEasy Move, the first in a new generation of stand-alone digital capture reading systems specifically designed for people who are blind or low vision.
ReadEasy Move
ReadEasy Move
The ReadEasy Move is compact, stylish, lightweight, and easy-to-use.  The ReadEasy Move has an intuitive user interface consisting of only 6 buttons making it the ideal reading solution for people of all ages, whether they are 4 or 104.

“This system is the new generation in the ReadEasy product line,” said Dan Weirich, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for GW Micro. “It’s unique, compact design makes it one of the smallest reading machines available on the market.”

According to Weirich, a person who is blind or low vision can read any printed text by simply placing the text under the ReadEasy Move’s camera and pressing a button.  The system takes a picture and then begins reading the text in a clear, human-sounding voice within a matter of seconds.  The buttons located on the ReadEasy Move are tactile, making it easy to use regardless of your level of vision.

ReadEasy Move customers can add a Keypad Feature Pack to enable more advanced functionality to the ReadEasy Move, such as the ability to save and open files to and from a USB flash drive.  Individuals with low vision can obtain additional benefits from using the ReadEasy Move Low Vision Pack, which allows you to connect the device to a computer monitor to magnify text in addition to reading it.  Add the optional Low Vision Touch Pack (touchscreen monitor sold separately) and instantly turn the ReadEasy Move into a reading system that supports multi-touch gestures much like those used on the iPhone and iPad!  Low vision users can quickly move around a document, adjust magnification and start reading using intuitive touch gestures!

For customers who need access to documents in foreign languages, such as Spanish, French, German, Italian, and others; additional languages can be easily added to the ReadEasy Move.  The ReadEasy Move is the first stand-alone reading machine that can recognize and switch between multiple languages automatically (additional languages sold separately).

The ReadEasy Move is now shipping so place your order today! Customers within the U.S. can contact GW Micro or your local GW Micro dealer to order or for more information.  You can reach GW Micro by phone at (260) 489-3671 or via email at, or learn more about the ReadEasy Move on the web at 

Source: GAATES

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG v2.0) Drafts Published

The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (UAWG) on October 4 published updated Working Drafts of User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) 2.0 and Implementing UAAG 2.0. UAAG defines how browsers, media players, and other “user agents” should support accessibility for people with disabilities and work with assistive technologies.

UAAG 2.0 is updated to better address mobile devices and input by speech, touch, and gesture. See the call for review e-mail for a summary of changes. Comments are welcome through 9 November 2012. Learn more about the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

Source: W3C, GAATES

AbleGamers Foundation to Open First Accessible Arcade for Gamers with Disabilities

The AbleGamers Foundation will be opening its first permanent arcade for gamers with disabilities on Wednesday, October 10 in Washington D.C. public library’s main MLK branch.
 AbleGamers Foundation Logo
The Accessibility Arcade offers a hands-on showcase of accessible technology that can enable gamers with disabilities to play mainstream video game systems and titles.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming new and experienced gamers with disabilities of all ages to the library for a unique experience. When properly used, video games can be an important learning tool for literacy, spatial reasoning and curriculum support as well as a wonderful social experience.” said DC Public Library Adaptive Services Division chief Venetia Demson.
The AbleGamers Foundation  aims to make digital media and entertainment more accessible for gamers with disabilities in order to improve their lives.

Source: GAATES