Accessible cinema to get a legislative boost in the USA

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014 16:33pm

Last week the United States Attorney General signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which recommends amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act to provide captioning and audio description of movies.

The ruling will provide a consistent approach across the United States for cinemas to exhibit closed captioned and audio described movies. While the majority of movies released by American studios have captions and audio description, the number of cinemas making use of these features is varies widely across the country.

Some of the rulemaking inclusions are:

  • Specified numbers of closed caption devices based on number of seats or potential patrons served, rather than number of screens per complex.
  • At least one audio description device per screen per complex, but no fewer than two in total.
  • A requirement by cinemas to advertise accessible sessions across all advertising formats.
  • A requirement that there must be a staff member on site at all times who can locate and operate the equipment and communicate that knowledge to patrons.

The rulemaking also permits cinemas to use open captions but does not require the use of open captions under any circumstance.

The proposed regulation will be published in the USA’s Federal Register within a few weeks. The public will then be able to submit comments for the next 60 days by following the Regulations website instructions.

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