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Netflix Is Getting Sued!

| Filed under: Legal MattersTech Talk

Netflix Sued For Disability Rights

Netflix is getting sued for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit was filed today by the National Association of the Deaf for not providing closed captioning for most of the Watch Instantly feature offered to the public.

Here's what NAD had to say:

“We have tried for years to persuade Netflix to do the right thing and provide equal access to all content across all platforms. They chose not to serve our community on an equal basis; we must have equal access to the biggest provider of streamed entertainment. As Netflix itself acknowledges, streamed video is the future and we must not be left out."

We can definitely understand this. While we think it's a start that not ALL of the Instant Watch titles aren't closed captioned, it doesn't really look like there has been an effort to get the rest of the titles up to snuff.

We also understand that there are a LOT of movies out there and they keep adding them to streaming, but, they should add the option before they release to streaming so as not be overwhelmed by going back through the catalogue!

It's definitely bullshizz that the hearing impaired can't enjoy the same features as pretty much everyone else can, and we're talking about the fact that Netflix is makes up over 60% of the streaming market share out there!

Netflix, there are an estimated 36 million Americans deaf or hard of hearing… just think of it as potentially 36 million more subscribers if you put the effort and funds into correcting the issue!

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78 comments to “Netflix Is Getting Sued!”

  1. 1

    yes surely it cant be that hard im not deaf and sometimes i watch the subtitles on films just so i dont have to have the sound up at night..most films do have subtitles .
    surely these ones could also

  2. 2

    Oh cry me a river. Everyone is "special" these days and expects special treatment. Netflix doesn't owe these people anything. If they don't like it, don't watch.

  3. 3

    Our rates better not rise over this or I'm going to have to bust some deaf person.

  4. 4

    Take the captioning issue a step further. The hi-def programs recorded on home DVR's, not hi-def, do not have closed captioning either.

  5. 5

    Screw the people who think deaf and hard of hearing shouldn't be given the rights they pay for. My fiance is hard of hearing, and that means he can't enjoy Netflix with me even though we pay just like anyone else. They have been given AMPLE time to give all of their instant streaming titles closed captioning. This should NOT come at a rate increase or else the ADA would have a problem with that. Netflix has said that they have no limitations at this point to put closed captioning on their Instant Streaming, but they spend time redesigning the front of their website to crappy hoverovers. Just readig the comments closed minded people have left so far on this post saying "SCREW DEAF PEOPLE CRY ME A RIVER" makes me want to throw up. Hope you wake up one morning deaf or have a child born deaf and have to deal with it.

  6. 6

    The blind like to watch movies too. My mom is blind and I called Netflix and they said CC was in the works…I hope that was true!

  7. 7

    Re: tom&inez – Most hi-def cable boxes have the ability to give closed captioning (which is how I have it on our television), however, it has to be set in the box itself. If you call your cable company they can tell you how, or depending on what model of box you have you can do it yourself. Cable companies are legally obligated to have closed captioning, and if they don't provide it, you can take action against them.

  8. 8

    Then we'll deal with it ghostsets. Until then, go rent the DVD.

  9. 9

    I understand that it must be frustrating for deaf people, but suing them is just playing into today's culture of suing everyone for everything. Just like how people don't eat at restaurants if they don't like the food, don't use Netflix if you don't like their non-subtitles. As simple as that.

  10. 10

    Re: tailkinker – I don't think the addition of closed captioning is going to help your blind mother much….

  11. 11

    Long overdue. It also stinks when you actually get the DVD home and there is either no subtitles or they're in a foreign language.

  12. 12

    Really? Is watching your netfix with cc that big of a deal to sue for? Go rent the actual DVD or bluray if its such an inconvenience. I get it your deaf blah, blah, blah. There are more important things to bitch about

  13. j.no says – reply to this


    Re: ghostsets – Your fiancee paying for DVD delivery via mail? Then he's getting what he pays for when the DVDs arrive.

    You can't watch in closed captioning on Hulu or and of the websites for the various studios. If they want to sure Netflix for this then they might as well sue Hulu, Fox, ABC, et. Al.

    It's a pretty ridiculous law suit with little relevance considering how quickly technology changes. If this was 5 or 10 years from now then they would have a strong case, but as it is now it's just ridiculous.

  14. j.no says – reply to this


    Re: movedtocomment – And that is Netflix problem how?

  15. 15

    This is one thing I hate about this country, everyone is sue happy. A) Netflix does provide Closed Caption B) Even if the didn't they are not the only service. C) netflix does carry DVD's Do they sue every studio every time they release a DVD without Closed Caption?

  16. 16

    Wah, wah. Just use the caption options that come on the damn TV set. Almost all of the newer models have them.

  17. 17

    And suing them will do what? More than likely, they're still not gonna change anything.

  18. 18

    Re: TrannyTakesATumble

    Special? Wait til you get old and your hearing starts to tumble. Then we can see how "special" you feel watching Netflix

  19. 19

    Re: Wenchtits

    36 million new potential subscribers like the article says. Rise? You rates would actually fall.

  20. 20

    Re: Rocketboy

    Nobody's suing Netflix for money. They're suing for access. No ambulance chasing lawyers here

  21. 21

    Re: tailkinker – They said the same thing to me two years ago.

  22. 22

    For all the commenters who are suggesting we use the built-in caption settings on TV or the set-top encoders; they don't work magically by itself. The programming provider still has to include captions in the TV show in order for the built-in captioning features to work. ABC, NBC, and every other network has captions that these encoders pick up on.

    For everyone else who suggests that we simply don't watch. That's what we have been doing, not watching. Guess what? We decided we'd like to watch, we'd like to be able to catch up on Lost on our laptop while we're waiting for our plane in the airport. The narrowmindedness of some of your comments suggests that you guys don't go anywhere, so naturally you wouldn't understand what it means to be sitting around in airports going somewhere….

  23. 23

    And finally, don't you all realize that this makes economic sense and benefits you? Not only would Netflix add up to 36 million new subscribers (the vast majority of whom are senior citizens with diminished hearing loss), but the caption text itself is searchable and makes movie titles findable based on that one quote you know from the movie but can't think of the name, or by searching for all movies that have a certain line or saying in it. It increases traffic, increases advertisers, and makes the end product better. Captioning itself is relatively cheap, and it's really up to the movie studios to do the captioning, not Netflix. The movie studios ALREADY caption the DVDs, they can just pass along the text files to Netflix who can automatically update everything.

    I hope every one of you becomes deaf some day, then we'll see how much you enjoy Netflix then. You'll be thanking the deaf community for getting you captions down the road.

  24. 24

    Shame on those of you calling this "special treatment." The Americans with Disabilities Act is a LAW enacted under BUSH Sr. 20 years ago so that those with disabilities (which may be right at YOUR door even though you think you are invincible) have the opportunity to lead full and meaningful lives like everyone else who pays for services. GET A CLUE and stop perpetuating this political vitriol concocted by the media. What kind of country do you want to live in? One that leaves its disabled out when I'm sure the issue is a very simple change for a GIANT money-maker? WTF, people!?

  25. 25

    Most of you guys don't know what you are talking about. The deaf do have a strong case against Netflix. Today more people are watching TV and movies online and the DVD's and Blurays are a the thing of the past. All the video stores have closed where I live. How would you guys like it if you wanted to watch a movie but you couldn't, cause you would need subtitles to understand it? And the largest provider of streamed entertainment doesn't have subtitles? The NAD has been fighting Netflix and Hulu for years. It's about time they file a lawsuit!

    Most of you people will lose your hearing when you get old and you will need subtitles! You'll regret your idiotic comments.

  26. 26

    Re: j.no – I guess you missed that Hulu actually has closed captions, and you can filter the content you're looking at by captions. Netflix has yet to even have a filter to find those videos, let alone have a majority of their programming captioned. Regardless, as in the article, Netflix has 60% of the market share. People are moving from cable companies to companies such as Netflix and Hulu because it's more cost effective for many people. If there's ANY time this topic is relevant, it'd be now. No one's suing for money, we're suing to have access just like any other group of people. And maybe you missed out on the other news recently–CNN was recently brought up upon lawsuit too because they neglect ENTIRELY to have captions of any of their videos online. Netflix isn't the only company being targeted.

    And come on, just because we get one DVD a week or maybe two times a week if we're lucky, doesn't mean it's right for my fiance to miss out on the other half of the service he's paying for. Netflix does not solely market themselves as rent a movie only–everyone knows they market heavily about the streaming service. I use the streaming service way more often than we rent DVDs. But it's just sad that I can't sit down with my fiance and enjoy a movie streaming like any other couple can.

  27. 27

    They are sueing to bring attention to the fact that ppl with disabilities like to enjoy the same things that EVERYONE does. It's ok for ppl to collect disability from their employers for BULLSHIT claims, yet someone with an actual impairment can't bring attention to an issue that SHOULD already be in place!

  28. 28

    Re: anthonym – I never said they were suing for money. My point was if they are not happy go somewhere else. There are other services like netflix, like hulu and amazon vod.

  29. 29

    Re: perez posse member 777Re: perez posse member 777 – Most films do have subtitles? Are you that stupid? I suggest you to do your homework before you make this lame comment.


  30. 30

    Re: j.no – Are you that dumb, bitch? Hulu.com provides cc, FYI. Another reason why you're so stupid.

  31. 31

    Re: Rocketboy – The point is: Accessibility!!

  32. 32

    Honest to God, after reading the comments by hearing people attacking Deaf people for doing what is right is appalling and disgusting. But that does NOT surprise me at all. This is a prime example why not many Deaf people liked to mingle with your kind.


  33. 33

    I have a mother who is deaf. She has netflix that includes the dvd package. If instant streaming doesn't have CC she just puts it in her dvd que. Simple as that. My mother has been deaf all her life. She doesn't consider herself special when it comes to this "disability". In fact, she doesn't think it is one. I think this whole lawsuit is a bunch of garbage. I mean come on, why aren't they suing the music industry? They can't hear the music. or why don't blind people sue magazines like Rolling Stone or Playboy? Seriously, if it bothers you so much just rent the DVD's.

  34. 34

    I'm calling this out Selene!
    I understand what they are saying, but not all books come in braille. Not all CD's have videos on them to be played in the computer. Netflix should provide whatever services they see fit and not be made to do it. They can make accommodations to watch subtitled movies. This seems frivolous and I hope they lose. It Netflix could provide it they would. When I instant download something, the quality is not that great anyways and it is a nightmare to fastforward something. WHo knows if they could even provide closed captioning.

  35. 35

    "The suit noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that "places of entertainment" provide "full and equal enjoyment" for people with disabilities."

    I don't even see how this violates the ADA by the simple fact that Netflix isn't a place.

    Really, if I sued for every damn time I was inconvenienced by something…

  36. 36

    Re: Lala425 – I will agree to disagree… While being deaf may not be a disability to you or your family, it is to over half the population. My son is also deaf… with a co. like Netflix to shut out an entire demographic is silly if you ask me. Just as silly as having to go BUY the dvd, just to watch it in CC. Not everyone has the same access, and I believe that NAD is acting accordingly. If you can not fight for what you need and enjoy, what's the point?

  37. 37

    Re: Lala425 – I dont think your mother is really Deaf, bitch.


  38. 38

    Re: IamMegan – It is not frivolous. There is a simple, free program where you can incorporate the captions in streaming videos on the internet.

    For people like you who are ignorant about this issue — which Deaf people has been battling Netflix for the last couple of years (GOOGLE IT UP, retards!!!) — they had been moving very very very slow on this matter. Which prompts NAD to sue them.

    Enough is enough.


  39. 39

    Re: Lala425

    Lala, and others who think it's "stupid" to sue Netflix. There's no monetary gains to be made from this lawsuit, it's about expediting the process of closed-captioning. ALL the information and software that Netflix needs in order to subtitle their films is already readily available to them- they're just choosing to focus their attention on other aspects of the company that are going to yield a higher SHORT-TERM profit. Subtitling, as someone else pointed out, will end up being a great long-term investment, but the nature of business (especially in this economy) sometimes that you make as much quick money as you can because you never know how long you'll last. Subtitling would be adding to the foundation of Netflix.
    I am hearing impaired and have functioned normally all my life. I didn't go to a special school, I don't sign, I work in corporate PR, and I don't even really know any other hearing impaired people. But I can't tell you how many times I've bailed on going to the movies with friends or how boring it is to watch a television when you're just not able to understand everything that's going on. Can I live with it? Sure! But if they have the means to ensure that everyone can enjoy something, who the fuck cares? How's it bother YOU? Imagine if your favorite restaurant or theater had the same attitude towards wheelchair ramps or elevators- would you still say 'well, if you can't get in, it's not THEIR problem?"

  40. 40

    Re: Wenchtits – How inconvenient do you think it would be NOT to be able to hear???

  41. 41

    These fucking people suing better not get in the way of my Netflix..i'll be fucking pissed.. >:(..and damn do people have to sue for everything these days??

  42. 42

    Re: Wenchtits – You're so desperate to be funny that you make fun of deaf people? And you STILL weren't funny….. nice work.

  43. 43

    Re: skadoosh

    I'd deal with it? I really don't see your point.

  44. 44

    Re: BeatGoesOn88


  45. 45

    It's not a privilege us Deaf are asking for, it is LAW. Why is it so hard to ask for what is LEGALLY REQUIRED? Hulu is able to do it without anyone even asking and their service is free. What makes NetFlix and hearing people so special that you all get to enjoy this service and we can't?

  46. 46

    Re: j.no – It's NetFlix's problem because they are breaking the law. When you break the law you get into trouble.

  47. 47

    Re: TrannyTakesATumble – what if you were deaf, would you think that way?

  48. 48

    Get a fucking hearing aid.

  49. 49

    Re: blackrabbitinle – Get a fucking life. Imagine if you were blind and someone let you walk into pits on street and tell you to get fucking glasses.

    Wow, you're definitely ignorant.

  50. 50

    Re: Wenchtits – If you "deal" so well, then stop worrying about what a lawsuit will do to your Netflix bill and deal with it. See my point now, Wenchtits??

  51. 51

    Re: Ridor9th – You would better make your point if you weren't so mean and antagonistic. Calling someone a bitch for not knowing if hulu has cc, asking another if he/she is stupid, and yet another Grossly antagonistic response because you don't believe someone's mother is deaf? Seriously?

    Whether you can hear or you are deaf, I can almost guarantee you most folks wouldn't mingle with you because of your toxic personality.

  52. 52

    Re: blackrabbitinle – What? You think getting a fucking hearing aid will solve everything, fucktard? If that is the case, you're so stupid, that's for sure.


  53. 53

    Re: TrannyTakesATumble – Not special, just equal. In America at least everyone is supposed to be equal. "..If they don't like it, don't watch." they can't hear it so like it or not they can't watch.

  54. 54

    if you dont like it, rent from a competitor. or start your own company and cater to disabled bozos. you dont own netflix. its a business. this country is over.

  55. 55

    This is SUCH a BS lawsuit! Netflix owes them NOTHING. They're a big company, they shouldn't be forced into doing something. Besides, there are PLENTY of options available to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, many of which are available to them free of charge. The bottom line is that Netflix is in the entertainment business, they don't have to coddle those with disabilities. I'm sorry if you you are disabled and don't like that, but too bad. Netflix is a privilege and not something you are entitled to. If they're not offering a service you want, go elsewhere, just like everyone else would do. You don't sue them to make that service available. I am SO sick of people thinking they're owed something just because they are less fortunate than others or have a disability, especially when what they're making a big deal over already exists in many other forms.

  56. 56

    Re: ickynicky – Really? Netflix is a privilage? I had no idea! So when my 7 year old son wants to watch movies, he has to log on and stream that shit on-line? The arrogance of ppl is just ridiculous, he's a KID! The ppl that comment on this site are hypocrites! They bitch about bullying, but tell a deaf person they are a bitch, real nice. If you're not Netflix why are you so pissed that an organization is trying to get equality on the entertainment front? Gotta love the attitude of our society …

  57. 57

    I'm not deaf and sometimes have to turn on closed captioning because I can't understand what the people are saying either because it's the way they talk or their accent.

    I use netflix on my Roku playing and hate that there is no closed captioning. It would be great if they offered it.

  58. C.L.B says – reply to this


    Re: TrannyTakesATumble – They can't watch it. That's the point.

  59. 59

    Sueing would only cause rates to increase, so what a silly thing to do. I have Meniere's disease and have lost most of my hearing and I do need CC to be able to tell what is going on in movies. It would be nice if Netflix did stream all movies with subtitles but I am not about to bitch and moan about the ones that aren't when I can just get the DVD in the mail (Netflix keeps sending them faster, and faster these days anyway) and watch it with subtitles.

  60. 60

    Re: skadoosh – Yes, but if it was that easy to add subtitles to all of their movies, don't you think they would have done it already? I am all for equal rights and I know everyone wants equal rights but there are ways to still get what you want, you just have to go out of your way. Getting the dvd in the mail takes 2-3 days on average. Watching movies aren't necessity for living. They should be suing for more important things. If I want a good education, I drive to the school that is 45 minutes away..instead of the school that is closer to my house. Should I sue the school closer to my house because it doesn't give me a proper education?
    Re: Ridor9th – Lovely. You are talking about equal rights and you just called someone a fucking retard.

  61. 61

    When are they going to sue the movies studios and theaters for not having closed captioning?

  62. 62

    Re: yeaman – Actually, there is a free program that can CC any movies easily — after all we live in an age of digital technology — so there is NO excuse, period.

    Yes, I call hearies fucking retards — being equal can be bitchin'.


  63. 63

    Re: BabiBunny69 – So what should they do? Write a letter? I think they probably have flooded Netflix with letters, emails, and phone calls and Netflix hasn't made enough effort to provide them better service. If people with deafness are going to pay for a service it should work for them. This is not one of those nonsense lawsuits. This is about equality.

  64. Alien says – reply to this


    Since when is it everyones else's responsiblility to make sure you can watch a movie? If they dont want to make it available they shouldnt have to. Grow up people and take responsibility for yourself.

  65. 65

    Netflix is privately-financed and does not receive taxpayer money. If the ADA says that places of entertainment have to make sure the disabled can enjoy stuff as much as non-disabled, how do they make sure blind people enjoy movies? Despite their best efforts, Hollywood filmmakers still can't always make sure the retarded get the jokes. People take technology too much for granted these days. If you can't stream it right now there's a problem? Five years ago this didn't even exist and nobody was having a problem. Just get the dvd's in the mail and shut the fuck up. Equal rights are awesome. If you whine like a bitch and sue like a bitch, I'll call you a bitch. Deaf or no deaf.

  66. 66

    This is not McDonald's coffee spill case. The deaf don't want money, just access. Its not too much to ask for. It became necessary because they CAN do it and just don't have a fire under them to do it, and the lawsuit will likely make them do it instead of letting it continue to sit on the back burner acting like CC is a spare time hobby like they have been. Its ridiculous that it will have to take that but apparently it will. Oh, If not having access to streamed video is so not a big deal then I think all of you who use it should just turn off the sound when you watch your content!!! UGH.

  67. 67

    Re: j.no – No idiot. The streaming content is separate. If the lawsuit spurrs them to get move on then the objective is accomplished. They dont' need to win the case or have it come to fruition.. just having it out there probably will be enough to get a fire under their butts and actually DO it. They are treating it like a part time hobby. So suing will likely make a difference.

  68. 68

    Re: bobo99 – Your comment is so idiotic I don't even know where to start. Lol…

  69. 69

    Re: yeaman – Movies are not a neccesity, but a form of entertainment to be enjoyed by all. I'm not saying go sue happy on everyone, for everything. However, this is a issue that coincides with alot of situations that I fight for, for my child. Not every instance requires lawsuits, but you can bet I have to write letters, and be proactive in our community for what is right for my child. We break barriers everyday, so I believe NAD is only speaking on our behalf.

  70. 70

    Re: Lala425 – I am Deaf and I share your Mother's view. That doesn't mean that she doesn't have the right to equal access for that service if she wanted it, period.

  71. 71

    Re: WenchtitsRe: Wenchtits – Hmm I read the suit. It says, "The failure of Netflix to provide equal access to millions of deaf and hard of hearing individuals violates the mandate of the ADA to provide "full and equal enjoyment" of a public accommodations' goods, SERVICES, facilities, and privileges, including "place of exhibition or entertainment" "place{s} of recreation", "Sales or rental establishment", and "service establishments." Because the internet is a "place of public accommodaton," denial of equal access to the Internet violates the ADA. "

  72. 72

    Re: butt666 – Your name speaks for itself… bitch ;)

  73. 73

    For those of you people that are so ignorant to say that deaf people to quit complaining or they should just go buy the DVD, do you even understand what you're saying? Its called inequality. What if every movie ever made had captions on it. But the captions bugged you. You should have a right to have that movie WITHOUT captions. Right? So this is no different. Except for the fact that you can enjoy movies with or without captions because you can hear them. My mother is deaf and after years of pleading to have captions accessible to movies, I think its time for Netflix to get sued. Nothing else has worked, so hopefully this will. I'm hoping that they can have an option when you click on a movie to add the subtitles or not. That way everyone can be happy. So go educate yourselves and grow a heart.

  74. 74

    Honestly, some people here are really incredibly rude for what they are saying. I am a deaf person who works with hearing people all of the time and COMMUNICATION is important. This is how we can watch TV and Movies. We have to be communicated by the TV with closed captions because it is how we relay on information. If we don't have closed, We will miss around or more than 50% of what the whole movie/ TV show/ News/ and other productions will be talking about if we didn't have Close Captioned.

    AND THE REASON WHY WE ARE SUING THEM is because they gave us their word that they would help and do this several years ago and we all are not getting what they were supposed to provide few years ago.

    suck it up and just understand it like a fat person has an handicapped pass cos he/she is so freaking fat and they can't park like us regular people! suck it up!

  75. 75

    Re: TrannyTakesATumble – I'm crying me a river at your ignorance

  76. 76

    Re: Wenchtits – Say it to my face and you'd get it busted. Say it to any other Deaf person, it'd be much worse.

  77. 77

    The NAD has tried numerous times to ask for closed captioning to be added to no avail. We asked and waited, waited, and waited. Now we're suing to publicly ask them - to make a very minor and simple change that would open up doors for THIRTY-SIX MILLION PEOPLE. That includes me, kids, mothers, fathers, senior citizens. For crying out aloud, this is 2011 and we are technologically advanced. Come on.

    To those blubbering and crying about "special people". THIRTY-SIX MILLION PEOPLE. We want to and DESERVE to watch movies just like you do. Heck, even the movie theaters have a wheelchair section. SHUT UP. If netflix adds captioning, millions would subscribe , including me and the price wouldn't raise. We are NOT looking for money, but CHANGE.

  78. 78

    Re: Wenchtits – Oh, sure, you'll "deal with it". Right. So easy to say, it just rolls right off your tongue. Wow, your ignorance is breathtaking! I've been disabled and battled chronic illness all my life, and I never cease to be amazed by people who act like they are immune to misfortune. You are not, and when that shoe is on your foot someday, it's going to feel pretty tight. I hope you receive no more sympathy then, than you are willing to give others now.