Tuesday, April 6, 2010

HR 3101 - No Protection From YouTube Gap

Caption Action 2 is posting this blog to correct a mistake. We thought that HR 3101 would have protected the deaf and hard of hearing community from situations like what is happening now with the iPad and YouTube. Sadly, the answer is, NO, HR 3101 would not have protected us!

Jamie contacted Rosaline Crawford, the director of the National Association of the Deaf's law and advocacy center to get clarification on how HR 3101 would have applied in this situation. Rosaline's response was that "H.R. 3101 was not intended to fill the gap that has appeared between YouTube videos and the iPad." However, there is the hope that if HR 3101 passes, the fact captions would be required for TV on the Internet would "encourage" the availability of captions on other video formats and platforms.

So, we were wrong. HR 3101 would not have guaranteed that we would not be left out from the start when products like the iPad were launched. For that kind of protection we would need ANOTHER law.

It is known that HTML 5 is still being worked on by the W3C as seen by a comment in the previous post. It is not known when it will be finalized.

Accessibility/HTML5 captions v2

Fortunately, HTML 5 uses easily-found and used subtitling utilities like Subtitle Workshop, SubStation Alpha, and Aegisub.

Join Caption Action 2!

Help ensure that the new Facebook Twilight Series has captions, and help get Starz to caption its YouTube channel! Join Caption Action 2 on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/groups/captionaction2

1 comment:

  1. I have been following your blog for a few months now. HR 3101 is essential to the future of accessibility even though many people seem to not realize it or are apathetic. Unfortunately if this is not passed, the reality of the matter is, those people will find themselves up against a wall that they should have seen miles away.

    I digress. On the point of YouTube and HR 3101, I entirely agree with the lawyers over at NAD. If HR 3101 does have a provision focusing on personally submitted videos on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, this will have a chilling effect on those types of industries, and one could even go as far as it having a chilling effect on freedom of speech on the internet. People who submit those types of videos simply do not have the resources nor the know-how to add captions. The fact that YouTube is working on audio transcribing is a fantastic idea that could evolve into a technology everyone could use. However this development cannot, and should not, be enforced by law. Funding by the Federal Government is another matter entirely, and outside of the scope of this comment (and HR 3101 for that matter).

    Television networks and studios, as well as the movie mongols over in Hollywood, however, do not have the resources and the know-how limitation that the common people do. This is easily evidenced by simply turning on the TV or playing a commercial DVD (well, a vast majority of them anyway). Captioning (and subtitling) work has already been done. To convert them into a digital format that is understood by programs such as QuickTime (including iTunes) and flash players (Hulu, ABC.com, et al) is a trivial task afterwards. Hell, I have extracted closed captions from a DVD and converted it into a subtitles track that is possible to turn on of off in iTunes, Apple TV, iPhone and the iPad. I used a free, open source program (HandBrake - http://handbrake.fr/) to do this.

    There are simply no excuses - costs or otherwise.

    I applaud all your work in trying to get HR 3101 passed. Thank you. And the deaf (and aging population) of the future will thank you as well, even though they might not know or understand it today.