International policy and legislation

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US court rules that football games must be fully captioned


American football team the Washington Redskins are now required to caption all game content broadcast over public address systems, including song lyrics.

Last week the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling, stating that song lyrics contributed to the general atmosphere of the games, therefore all people, including those who are Deaf or hearing impaired, must be able to access them.

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Disney being sued over lack of accessibility


Three women in the United States are suing Disney for discrimination against those who are blind or vision impaired.

According to the press release about the class action suit, the plaintiffs are claiming that the parks themselves are discriminatory against people who are blind and vision impaired by “refusing to reasonably accommodate the needs of guests with guide dogs, refusing to provide functional audio technology, refusing to provide Braille menus, schedules and maps, and more”.

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NZ audio description trial to start in March


A trial of audio description on New Zealand television will commence on 1 March with audio described episodes of Coronation Street.

The audio description, which is funded by NZ On Air, will be accessible to owners of Freeview HD and Freeview Satellite set-top boxes, and can be recorded by viewers.

The Australian Government’s Media Access Review has proposed a trial of audio description on ABC1 in the second half of 2011, subject to funding approval.

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US communications regulator proposes new access rules


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open meeting on 3 March to consider Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) on two proposals of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.

These are:

  • The proposal to require providers of advanced communications services and manufacturers of equipment used for those services to make products accessible for people with disabilities.
  • The proposal to reinstate the FCC’s rules for video description (called audio description in Australia).

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, a comprehensive set of proposals to make electronic and online media accessible, was signed into law by President Obama on 8 October 2010.

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