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Captioning and Copyright Law—Tensions and Work-arounds in the Current Legal Landscape

Video captioning for the deaf or hard of hearing has become more common since the turn of the century. The copyright owners of some of this video programming are taking increasing responsibility for captioning the videos, due in part to regulations from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as enforcement through private lawsuits.

However, captioning occurs primarily in the broadcast, cable, and satellite programming settings, and is much less frequent for Internet programming. This leaves many third parties wishing to fill the void by adding captioning to programming provided over the Internet, but what are the legal limits and conflicts of this practice?

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Disability and the Internet, a special issue of First Monday

The September 2015 issue of First Monday, an open access, peer-reviewed journal focusing on the Internet, highlights the growing awareness of web accessibility. The nine papers in this special issue build upon the work of the issue’s editors, Katie Ellis and Mike Kent, in their 2011 book, Disability and New Media. In the issue’s introduction, Ellis and Kent write:

In only four years there have been great strides in this area and disability media studies is no longer a peripheral area of concern. This special issue of First Monday brings together scholars in disability media and related fields to look at the contemporary Internet and the challenges and opportunities it presents for people with disabilities…Online accessibility for people with disabilities is an issue that cuts across a number of fields including education, mobile telephony, television studies, and human rights.

 Visit First Monday to read the special issue: Disability and the Internet.