On June 10, 2010 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations – Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description.” Six-and-a-half-years later, the DOJ has issued a Final Rule on the ANPRM.
In their Final Rule, the DOJ requires movie theaters to:
- have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron’s seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise made available
- provide notice to the public about the availability of these features, including on communications and advertisements at the box office, and other ticketing locations, on websites, mobile apps newspapers and via telephone. Third party websites are not required to provide that information.
- ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features.
We are thrilled to see movie captions recognized and required as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, we must make sure these new rules work. Don’t be afraid to complain if you don’t get the accommodations you need. And don’t forget to compliment the theater on a job well-done. Your input is more than important; you can be a driving force behind making movies truly accessible to those with hearing loss!
You can find more information on the Final Rule on the ADA website.