Department of Justice Revises Rules Requiring Closed Captioning and Audio Description at Movie Theaters

 

On November 22, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced regulations to clarify a public accommodation obligation to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities.

In other words, the regulation explains in more detail what movie theaters and other public accommodations have to do to comply with closed captioning and audio description obligations.

 

The rule requires digital movie theaters and other public accommodations to:

Rule Deadline for compliance
(1) have and maintain the equipment necessary to provide closed movie captioning and audio description at a movie patron’s seat whenever showing a digital movie produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with these features; 18 months after ruling is published on Federal Register
(2) provide notice to the public about the availability of these features; and 45 days after ruling is published on Federal Register
(3) ensure that theater staff is available to assist patrons with the equipment before, during, and after the showing of a movie with these features.  45 days after ruling is published on Federal Register

The ruling also mentions the number of captioning and audio description devices required at a movie theater based on the number of auditoriums in the movie theater showing digital movies, as shown in the following table.

Number of Movie Theater Auditoriums Showing Digital Movies Minimum 
Required Number of Captioning Devices
Minimum
Required Number of Audio Description Devices
1 4 1
2-7 6 1-4
8-15 8 4-8
16+ 12 8+

We welcome this ruling and look forward to having improved accessibility in movie theaters soon.

For more information see: