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March 26, 2014 / Soheil Bahari

Redbox and Other Media Companies Required to Provide Closed Captioning on Their Products

Redbox is the target of a new class action which among other things alleges that the movie rental company has violated the American Disabilities Act by not providing closed captioning on all of its physical and digital movies.

 The Americans with Disabilities Act requires companies and organizations in the media industry to provide their viewers with the possibility of closed captioning in their programs. Millions of Americans struggle with hearing problems and are categorized as either deaf or hard of hearing and rely on the closed captions when they watch movies or TV programs.

The main purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to ensure that there are accommodations available to those who are disabled. The law promulgated under the act in 1990 addresses employment, public accommodations, government services, and telecommunications among other things to make sure that disabled individuals are not discriminated against.

The law requires companies that deliver audiovisual products to customers ensure that the products are made accessible to those with hearing difficulties. This is primarily done by providing closed captioning. The law also mandates that all broadcasters, cable companies, and satellite program providers adhere to the same requirements asthose companies that deliver the audiovisual products.

In 2010, Congress passed the 21st century Communications and Video Accessibility Act which further expands this requirement to companies that provide streaming services through the internet. This has proven especially troublesome for companies like Netflix and Redbox which, along with their physical DVD distributing services, offer streaming capabilities to their subscribers. It has been even more difficult for companies that are solely dealing with streaming contents such as Hulu, M-Go, and Vudu, to name a few.

Francis Jancik, a California man with hearing problems, is seeking injunctive relief by filing a class action lawsuit against Redbox. In his lawsuit, Mr. Jancik is alleging that the company is not only violating the law by providing content that does not contain closed captions, but also falsely advertising that it does.

If you or someone you know has been discriminated against because of a disability, please contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation concerning your legal rights and remedies.


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