We may all live in a great big global community, but in my Blog, it's my world.

News headline that I caught at Cnet.com (headline is linked):

Netflix sued by deaf group over lack of subtitles

I know of at least several individuals that will be happy if this issue is ever properly addressed as they've been unable to enjoy the streaming service that Netflix offers due to lack of closed captioning or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

I've been known to turn on subtitles for films I have on Blu-ray or DVD just because I can catch *more* of the conversations and dialogues in films that way rather than missing part of what was said due to the volume levels and/or pronounciations and dialects that are used along the way by various actors/actresses.  By the time the volume levels are impacted by background music and noise in the film I'm sitting there a little frustrated at not quite catching the dialogue unless I crank the volume up so high I'm rattling walls when I needn't be.

I'm not one for what I would call frivolous lawsuits, but in this instance I think the customers have a very good point.  It might not be Netflix's fault (it could be the fault of the studios that provide the films to Netflix), but Netflix is the one pushing streaming media and in doing that they need to be the ones that ensure that their customers can all enjoy the experience equally, including those that have issues hearing.


Comments
on Jun 21, 2011

Interesting. Is there a law that actually make it illegal in some way to provide video entertainment without subtitles? this would be news to me. I don't see why netflix should be sued for not providing subtitles. Sure, make a demand, boycott them or something but sue? This is a rather interesting concept. I have never been to a theater where the movie has closed captioning except during non-English language in the movie. How come they are not suing theaters as well? I personally find them annoying as it takes your view away from the actual video and I am a person of detail when it comes to videos and closed captioning disrupts that for me.

Not every TV show or commercial has closed captioning either, are these shows and companies being sued as well? This seems rather unusual to me and almost frivolous as you pointed out. If they will be making serious money off of this i don't see how this can be anything else.

on Jun 21, 2011

There's nothing 'almost' about it.  Garbage lawsuit.  Nobody compelled them to sign up for Netflix.  CC is available for all DVD/BR versions it it's that important to them.  And CC is not available for all of Netflix's content even if they wanted to provide it.

Effing lyars (Gaelic for lawyers).

on Jun 22, 2011

but Netflix is the one pushing streaming media and in doing that they need to be the ones that ensure that their customers can all enjoy the experience equally, including those that have issues hearing.

I disagree - they are only responsible for stating whether they have CC or not.  I agree with Daiwa.

on Jun 22, 2011

Daiwa said:
There's nothing 'almost' about it. Garbage lawsuit. Nobody compelled them to sign up for Netflix. CC is available for all DVD/BR versions it it's that important to them. And CC is not available for all of Netflix's content even if they wanted to provide it.

The only problem I have with that thought is that Netflix is making this streaming effort in a big push to help hasten the end of physical media.  The studios are helping there because they'd rather not have physical media out there with the inherent flaws and lack of protections that could keep the content from being copied.

If Netflix gets their way and they wind up not having to have much, if any, physical media to provide to customers than they need to step up to the plate and see that the streaming content provides the same levels of usefulness to their customers -- all customers.

The issue of this suit comes somewhat from the ADA, a law that has been -- in some opinions -- misused to get businesses to change how they deal with persons that are differently abled.  That law may be a little flawed, and yes, it may have been misused by lawyers that profiteered from nuisance suits, but at the same time those that would otherwise have been forgotten and ignored when it came to having adequate access can point out how much their lives have been improved because of it.

Realistically, Netflix is an 800 pound gorilla when it comes to the Hollywood (and others) studios.  They can force the studios to provide closed captions if they choose to, the question is whether they'll choose to do so or instead try to save a few $$ along the way.

on Jun 22, 2011

terpfan1980
Netflix is making this streaming effort in a big push to help hasten the end of physical media

In response to which I ask, 'So what?'  Netflix is not the only source of such media content.

Would it be nice if Netflix made CC an option for all its content?  Yes.  But they can hardly do so without added consumer cost.

Should they be required to do so?  No.  No more than a theater should be required to CC every feature film.

Where do you draw the line in accommodating those with impairments?  How do you make a movie or article 'understandable' to someone with Down Syndrome or some other form of mental retardation?  Universal accommodation in all aspects of life is just not possible.

on Jun 22, 2011

terpfan1980
The only problem I have with that thought is that Netflix is making this streaming effort in a big push to help hasten the end of physical media.

I disagree again. They are doing it to make a buck.  They are still in the physical media business as my wife just got a DVD from them.

terpfan1980
The studios are helping there because they'd rather not have physical media out there with the inherent flaws and lack of protections that could keep the content from being copied.

Studios are stupid.  It is easier to copy a stream than it is a DVD.

terpfan1980
If Netflix gets their way and they wind up not having to have much, if any, physical media to provide to customers than they need to step up to the plate and see that the streaming content provides the same levels of usefulness to their customers -- all customers.

If Netflix does not do it, and there is significant demand, someone else will do it and NetFlix will be the next MySpace.  There is no need for coercion.

Final note: As Daiwa points out (I sound like his parrot), there are alternatives already.  Hulu, Hollywood, Google, Apple, etc.  It will be taken care of.  And perhaps there are only 1 in 10 that are hearing impaired.  But they are not all clumped together.  So with a house with one person hearing impaired, the entire house would probably go with a service that caters to it. Or even if it is just a family member since the cost difference will be minimal, and it is a convenience for the loved one.

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