December 20, 2012. Today several deaf and hard of hearing consumer groups filed a complaint at the FCC against Amazon for allegedly violating new FCC Internet captioning requirements. These consumers aver that Amazon.com has violated numerous times new rules issued under the 21st CVAA. Television shown online without the captioning included top programs such as "Fringe," "CSI: NY," "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," and "Revolution." The new rules state that beginning on September 30, 2012, most full-length, non-live video programming published or exhibited on television with captions must also include closed captions when delivered online. They say that Amazon has consistently failed to caption its online video programming in a timely fashion, sometimes taking more than twenty days after posting a program online to provide captions. The complaint urged the FCC to impose the maximum fines and injunctive sanctions on Amazon to ensure that other distributors will make their programming accessible immediately instead of violating the rules as a cost of doing business. The consumer complaint also noted the willful nature of Amazon's failure to caption these previously-captioned programs on TV; they reminded the FCC that the company was a participant in the FCC's own Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (“VPAAC”) which met repeatedly after passage of the new law in 2010 to develop standards for how to implement IP captioning, so any defense of lack of awareness or of insufficient time was not appropriate. Read complaint against Amazon here.
Claude Stout, a disability community leader, said, "We commend those video programming distributors, producers and owners that meet their obligations within the timelines to caption their TV programs on the Internet. We shall remain vigilant for others who do not follow through on such an important responsibility to provide us with full access on the Internet." The consumer groups jointly filing the complaint included Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc., (TDI), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN), the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCASDHH), and the Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization (CPADO). Many of these consumer groups were among the leading COAT members that advocated for passage of the 21st CVAA that incorporated the new requirements for online TV captioning into the Communications Act. Legal representation in filing the complaint was provided by the Institute For Public Representation (IPR). See Amazon Complaint Read more about the complaint on the IPR Blog here.