Sign the Netflix Petition!

Update!: There is now a website devoted to the petition:

The petition has been updated to affect achievable requests of Netflix. As soon as there is a success with Netflix, then I and will be aiming other streaming content providers that do not provide full captioning (or subtitle) support.

I just signed it and you should to! Spread the word! 

Here's a copy of the letter: 

Require Netflix/Microsoft to provide Closed Captioning (subtitles) on all content.
Since 2009 Netflix has been promising either Subtitles or Closed Captioning for their Streaming Movies, yet, they haven't kept their promises. In June 2009, from the Netflix Blog, Neil Hurt, Chief Product Officer, commented, "We've had some inquiries about why Netflix doesn't yet provide closed captioning or subtitles for streaming movies and TV episodes. Captioning is in our development plans but is about a year away."

Netflix utilizes Microsoft Silverlight as the Streaming Media Player, which hasn't included a Closed Captioning option. With Reed Hastings being on the Board of Directors for Microsoft Corporation, then the issue is with both Netflix and Microsoft.

In April 2010, Neil Hurt proudly announced, "As I promised last year, I'm pleased to report that today we have enabled closed captioning for some TV episodes and movies that you can watch instantly on your PC or Mac. Although it's a limited library of content with subtitles available - about 100 titles - we now have released the technology and we will be working to fill in the library over time."

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities, such as buying an item at the store, going to the movies, enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, exercising at the health club, or having the car serviced at a local garage.

According to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990:
To meet the goals of the ADA, the law established requirements for businesses of all sizes. These requirements went into effect on January 26, 1992. Businesses that serve the public must modify policies and practices that discriminate against people with disabilities; ...; and provide auxiliary aids and services when needed to ensure effective communication with people who have hearing, vision, or speech impairments. In Sec.36.303 Auxiliary aids and services.
(a) General. A public accommodation shall take those steps that may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered or would result in an undue burden, i.e., significant difficulty or expense.

(b) Examples. The term "auxiliary aids and services'' includes --

(1) Qualified interpreters, notetakers, computer-aided transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD's), videotext displays, or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments;

(3) Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; and

(4) Other similar services and actions.

Reed Hastings and Neil Hurt may claim, and have done so, that they cannot provide Subtitles or Closed Captioning because of the cost for such alterations. If Reed Hastings can double his salary to $5.5 Million in 2010, and with Netflix Corporate Filings showing over $47 Million in Revenue, then there is no explanation for Netflix not to provide Closed Captioning or Subtitles for ALL of their Streaming Movies and DVD's.

We hereby request that Netflix implement the following:
1. Display "With Subtitles" below the Movie/TV Show Name on all displays of content selections as a stop-gap measure until ALL movies have CC or Subtitles.
2. Implement Subtitles or Closed Captioning on ALL current and future DVD's and Streaming Movies.
3. Upon implementation of such, advertise heavily in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Communities informing us about the implementation success.
4. Netflix to provide a substantial discount to any person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing until ALL content provides Equal Access.

We hereby request that Microsoft Corporation implement Closed Captioning capabilities for all of their Media Players, including Microsoft Silverlight, and further assist Netflix in providing Equal Access.
[Your name]

To sign the petition, go to this link

I recently got this email after I signed the petition:
The Disability Rights Section has received your email.  This is an automatic response generated by computer.  Please keep a copy of this response for your records. 
We will review the information you have submitted and will notify you of any action this office will take with respect to the issues you have raised. Please be advised that this office receives a large volume of correspondence from the public.  If you do not hear from us within 8 weeks, you may contact us to determine the status of our review.   
You can check on status either by sending a follow-up email to or by calling (202) 307-0663 (voice or TDD) or by calling the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice); 800-514-0383 (TDD). 
To expedite processing of your status check, please include the words "status check" in the subject line of your email and include your name, the name of the entity that was the subject of your initial email, and the date of your original email. 
Thank you for bringing these matters to our attention.
Disability Rights Section Staff

To sign the petition, go to this link

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  1. Thank you for Blogging about the Netflix Petition and supporting it with your signature. There is now a website devoted to the petition:

    The petition has been updated to affect achievable requests of Netflix. As soon as there is a success with Netflix, then I and will be aiming other streaming content providers that do not provide full captioning (or subtitle) support.

  2. Awesome. Thanks for letting me know about it. I will try to inform my readers about it. :-)


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