Summary of Comments Filed


Movie Theaters; Captioning and Audio Description: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations

Updated 1/22/17

This is a summary of all 421 comments filed in response to the above cited DOJ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0001). The extended comment deadline was December 1, 2014. In some cases, where the filed comment is quite short, the entire comment is quoted instead of being summarized. In other cases, even extended comments are best summarized by quoting select sections of the comments (and with an extensive comment, these can be extensive). While I've tried to be balanced in the comment summaries, there is often a considerable difference in size to the summaries. A comment summary tends to be larger when it presents novel or well supported arguments. Please let me know if I have not presented a good summary of your comments. Please send any comments or corrections to .

Final Rules on Closed Captioning and Audio Description released 21 November 2016. Summary of cinema assistive technology rules.




holland, ray


No comment on captioning. Complains about loud TV commercials.

Ellison, James


Commenter is hearing impaired, but thinks general public will object to closed caption block on movie screen and is concerned about maintenance and sanitation costs of headsets.

N, Jane


Since captions are available in many theaters and on home video, efforts should, instead, address housing and poverty.

Captioning, CCAC


Open captions are preferred. 50% of all movie showings should have open captions. There is no good evidence that open captions will be objectionable to others.

Frank, L


Provision of closed captioning should be a business decision instead of a government mandate.

Lewis, Gena


Supports audio description for digital and analog theaters.

Padilla, Zayra Ivette


100% support accommodations to people with disabilities.

Hansing, Carol


Movies come with closed captions on DVDs? Why can't theaters use the same. Turning the volume up real loud does not help.

Anderson, Becca


Audio description and captioning are very important.

National Association of Theatre Owners


Request comment period be extended by 60 days. The NPRM has significantly expanded the scope of the 2010 ANPRM. The NPRM requires substantial new economic analysis. Extension will not have a significant effect since more than 50% of the screens currently have closed captioning and audio description. The proposed rule would require installation of closed captioning and audio description equipment in over 30,000 auditoriums at a cost of over $200,000,000. NPRM states that DOJ has limited data on current state of industry. NPRM states DOJ has no robust data on the extent closed captioning and audio description systems will be used. The NPRM asks the industry to comment on capital, implementation, and maintenance costs. The NPRM asks 21 questions that will take more than 60 days to research and answer. NATO will be able to develop hard information during its annual conference starting September 30. NATO holds symposiums with disability rights groups and will need to hold further discussions with them to ensure the proposal meets patrons' needs without excess burden on exhibitors. The NPRM seeks information from manufacturers that will take more than 60 days. Disability rights groups need additional time to determine how often closed captioning and audio description equipment will be used.

Fisher, Beverly


Would very much like captioning in movie theaters so I can enjoy a movie away from home.

Potter, Melisa


Supports on screen captions instead of closed captions since they are easier to read. If this is not possible, closed captions should be required. Includes email from theater manager suggesting commenter attend another theater for captioning.

Ravenshadow, Bast


Supports captioning and audio devices for both analog and digital theaters.

weiner, roselle


Consumers requiring captions should have equal access. Current closed caption technology doesn't satisfy the comfort aspect. Open captions are preferred. Open caption showings should be expanded until technology allows better access to closed caption devices. Do not make any decisions without consulting the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

Anonymous, Anonymous


This proposed onerous rule will require every American to pay while few will enjoy any value. Sufficient technology exists to protect persons with disabilities. We strongly oppose the proposed rule.

Kreitner, Kim


Thank you for making the movie experience more equitable and enjoyable. This will be greatly appreciated by many.

Bernik, Nicolle


Strongly supports open captions. Describes issues with closed captions.

Anonymous, Anonymous


Strongly oppose proposal. The DOJ has no business regulating private industry in this capacity. Daughter is visually impaired, but still do not support the proposal.

Crick, Cheryl


Strongly support proposed rules. Benefits outweigh the costs. Allowing those with disabilities to participate in activities with others will break down barriers between the communities.

Schwarz, Louis


Prefers open captions. Industry proceeded in the development of closed captions without consulting the deaf and hard of hearing communities. There is no evidence as to how many people would object to open captions.

Daubert, Timothy


This regulation will allow those who are deaf or hard of hearing to watch a movie and see what the actors are saying, which has been denied for so many years. It's time for this regulation. Please don't hesitate.

Anonymous, Anonymous


Appreciates the needs of individuals with disabilities, but believes closed captions that are visible to all will be very distracting to the rest of the viewing public. Since home movies are available shortly after theatrical release, closed captioning on rented movies makes more sense.

K., Ramona


Comes from a family with a history of deafness. Supports the proposal but believes digital theaters could get closed captioning in half the proposed six months. Film theaters should have closed captions already. Giving (film) theaters four years to comply is ludicrous.

Prudhomme, Ron


Mother cannot see very good. What is required size of captions. The larger the better. How will you ensure caption-less viewing for the majority of citizens? Proposes a tax incentive for theaters and movie producers to provide captions that are only visible to those wearing special glasses. Does not support government involvement in our lives.

Rich, Susan


Has no objection to closed captions and believes it is only fair that the hearing impaired be able to enjoy a movie like everyone else.

Busby, Joe


The Obama regime through the DOJ is once again attacking business owners, especially small business owners with this stupid and costly set of regulations. If the market calls for these changes, they will happen.

Schacter Lintz, Janice


Includes copy of previously filed comments. Supports open captions. PDA caption devices are not suitable because of the need simultaneously look up at the screen and down at the PDA. The industry has had sufficient time to resolve these issues. The public should not object to open captions since they are accustomed to viewing them in ms, bars, airports, and hospitals. Those with hearing impairments must have the right to attend regular viewings, sit with their friends (not in special sections), and not be required to use stigmatizing devices.

Hindman, Joyce


Attests to the difficulty of attending movies without closed captioning and audio description. Requiring closed captioning and audio description affirms our society intends to be inclusionary.

Beck, Carol


Would be a fair thing to do.

fruendt, pamela


This is an option that should already be available. Why do we have to fight for what is right?



Please add closed captions to movies. Missed a lot of movies due to the lack of closed captions.

House, Jim


Supports the proposal. Closed captioning and audio description should be installed as part of digital conversion. Film screens should add captioning and audio description within two or three years. Theaters have an obligation to show open captions. The industry has not provided evidence that the general public would not accept open captions. The public is used to captions on television in public places, so they should accept it in theaters.

Wagner, Bobbi B


Special effects in movies drown out the dialog, so captioning would be a benefit to everyone.

Phillips, David


As a theater owner, has been hit with high expenses in recent years including conversion to digital, Affordable Care Act, and the upcoming increase in minimum wage. The requirement to equip every theater with closed captioning and descriptive audio equipment and an excessive number of devices that will rarely be used, is another nail in the coffin of movie theaters. With current proposal for his 3 screen theater to have 8 closed captioning units, there will be 21,900 opportunities to use closed captioning in a year. Current usage of assistive listening equipment is under 50 times per year. The $10,586 predicted cost approaches the profit for a year.

Smutny, Carin


Strongly supports the proposed regulations. With digital movies, adding captions and descriptive audio is easy and not costly, especially compared to the amount of profit brought in. Thank you for ensuring deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired Americans can enjoy movies with their friends and faimily.

Pirl-Roth, Leslie


Deaf commenter supports proposed rules so she can take her son to the movies. Does not understand why this is not already being done since cost is minimal. Theaters do not realize how much they are losing by not offering this service to the deaf and hard of hearing.

Grubbs, Ethen


It is important to offer closed captioning in small and large cities.

Cloutier, Stefanie


Strongly in favor of caption and audio description. Her son wears hearing aids and cannot understand movies without assistive listening or captions. Currently must wait for movies to be available on demand so they can be captioned at home. It is not right to exclude a portion of the population from enjoying something everyone else can. As a society, we should strive to include as many people as possible. Audio description and captioning is a fairly simple way to open movies to the deaf and blind.

Anonymous, Anonymous


Owner of two screen theater just spent $60,000 to convert to digital. Is not in favor of some DOJ ruling that forces him/her to spend even more this year.

Mitchell, Amber


Supports mandating captions in all theaters. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing cannot feequent movie theaters in the same manner as the general public. Instead, they wait for the movie to be on DVD and hope it has captions. Currently limited to a very few movies and theaters where the family can enjoy new releases together.

F, F


Supports open captions. Discusses issues experienced with various closed captioning systems. Invites the DOJ to try each of the existing systems. Open captions are beneficial to everyone since they often miss dialog during loud booming music. Invites DOJ to provide statistics on impact of open captions on general public. Has seen “only one or two” walk out during an open captioned movie.

Carol Agate


Now that many theaters have captioning, she can go to movies with friends. She uses Captionfish to determine which movies to see. Supports proposed regulations so she can attend any movie.

Anonymous Anonymous


Works for larger theater chain. Have had one or two customers ask for closed cationing in the 1.5 years they have had it. Has never had a request for audio description. Seems like a waste of money for equipment that sees very little use. Wouldn't it be better and more hygienic if the users purchased their own equipment and the theaters had a common transmission standard to drive that equipment? For a while, they had open captioned showings, and that seemed to generate more interest than closed captions. All this seems a little wrong, forcing private businesses to spend a great deal of money on user equipment. Standardizing transmission to user owned equipment would be a better solution.

Anonymous Anonymous


This is another unneeded government regulation to cater to a very small portion of the population. At the theater where the commenter works, they have 10 sets of caption glasses. In the past year, one pair has been used. The other 9 sets are still in boxes.

Anonymous Anonymous


Closed captioning is nice, but inhibits full enjoyment of the movie since the user must look down at the captioning device, missing the action on the screen. Also, most theaters only offer devices for select showings. Captions for all showings would be useful to those certified as hard of hearing or deaf as well as the aging population that don't hear as well as they once did.

Sharon Rivette


Commenter has blind daughter. Has asked for audio description at many theaters in many states and have never been able to get useful audio description. A very small lending library serving the blind and visually impaired has a limited number of movies with audio description mostly on VHS instead of DVD. Asks whether this regulation will apply to IMAX style theaters. Strongly supports proposed regulations. Costs for digital theaters appear reasonable. Since movies are being produced with audio description, theaters should have adopted this on their own.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter talked with a theater manager who stated that he was not allowed to turn on the switch that would allow open captions in the theater. Would like it to be easier for theater manager to switch on open captions, especially for large deaf events or when they are out of closed captioning devices. Suggest that if a movie grosses more than $10M in the first two weekends, movie be required to have captioning by the third weekend.

Joanne Johnson


Commenter is professional working in disability community. Strongly supports proposed rules. In response to comments that devices are rarely requested, many people choose to not even attempt to go to the movies because of nonexistent, missing, or broken equipment. Audio description is almost never available in theaters. Presenting these services is not a fundamental alteration.

Chandu Welder


Commenter is deaf and would appreciate it if all movie theaters had closed captioning. It is not fair for the deaf being unable to go to a movie theater. Instead, must wait for the movie on DVD, but they don't always have captioning.

Sue Green


Movie captioning and audio description can be very distracting to the majority of the audience. However, feels this should be available to handicapped. In this age of advanced electronics, devices should be available for free to those individuals which would allow them to see info easily as they were viewing the movie. Maybe a pair of glasses that could display this info.

Mary Alexander


Mother of a blind son supports the proposed rules. Audio description allows him to attend movies with his friends. Praises Cinemark. “They are the benchmark for a well run accessible theater.” Their system works in every seat of every theater.

Michelle Maloney


Commenter was born with significant hearing loss and is employed as an EEO Specialist. States that the proposed rule is long overdue. Describes experiences with movies without captions. Describes issues with closed captioning devices. Prefers open captions, but open captioned movies do not show locally. Suggests that everyone would benefit from open captions. People don't realize how much they're missing. If people don't like open captions, they could go to a distant theater to see an uncaptioned movie.

John Zick


Supports proposed rules to make the country more inclusive. Support proposal to require analog (film) auditoriums have closed captioning within four years of the rule effective date.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is deaf and supports proposed rules. Supports some sort of assistance for small businesses. Does not believe general public would complain about open captions since they do not complain about all the TVs in public places running captions. Has tried a couple closed captioning system and doesn't like that these make him/her stand out. Does not know about audio description but supports it.

Anonymous Anonymous


How can We, Deafies, improve our freaking English to read and write? Closed captions anywhere!!! Or still call us DUMB???”

Rachel Wise


Commenter is Activity Director for an Independent Retirement community. Discusses need for descriptive audio, mostly on DVD, but also in theaters.

Anonymous Anonymous


Two members of commenter's family are deaf or hearing impaired. Both will benefit from proposed rules. It is frustrating to have to wait for the movie to be out on DVD and then find there are no subtitles.

Allene Booth, Ed.D.


Visually impaired and supports proposed rules. It would also be helpful to have descriptive audio available for foreign films as captions are not accessible to visually impaired. Theaters need to be in complete compliance as soon as possible.

Mary Hanks


Commenter is a volunteer audio describer. Has heard from many people about the importance of audio description. Supports the proposed rules to improve the quality of life for the growing population facing vision and hearing loss.

Julie Heston


Requests that theaters provide captioning and audio description within four years. Commenter has deteriorating vision. Suggests talking with a low vision specialist to determine best text color.

Roslyn Zeltins


Commenter suffers from tunnel vision and really appreciates audio description. It is sad that so few television programs have audio description. It is currently difficult to find theaters with audio description or know what audio description is. Requests that audio description be mandated in theaters.



Supports closed and open cations. Discusses issues with closed caption glasses and reflectors. Endorses the Caption and Image Narration to Enhance Movie Accessibility Act to require theaters with two or more screens to provide open and closed captions. Captions also help people learn to read English.

Eric Anonymous


Commenter is blind college student and supports the proposed rules. Looks forward to eventually walking into any theater and enjoying a good movie. Recognizes that not all movies include descriptive audio but has notice an increase in the quantity and quality.

Anthony Ferack


Supports rule. It will benefit theaters since it will bring more deaf, hard of hearing, and blind patrons. Notes that most trailers are not captioned so he does not know that closed caption device is working until feature starts, and then it's too late.

Lori Moroz-White


Commenter is teacher of visually impaired children. Audio description is crucial for social acceptance and understanding of the sighted world.

Yvonne Nash


Commenter is parent of a blind child. Supports proposed rules to promote inclusion fo the blind. Proposed rules would be beneficial to both theater and patron. Accessibility includes affordability. Costs cannot be at the expense of the blind patrons.

Iris Sherman


Commenter was a regular movie-goer until hearing loss. Now, with captioning, she can once again attend movies. Notes that widely distributed films have captions, but independent movies often do not have captions. Notes that some streaming video services provide captions while others don''t. Would like to see captioning mandatory, at least for large companies like Amazon.

Susan Ruff


Foreign movies with subtitles make movies enjoyable to all. Many people lose hearing as they age. Closed or open captions and audio description make it possible for families with members that are deaf, hard of hearing, or blind to attend movies together. This makes more money for the theaters. Friends who have tried the glasses or mirror devices have said they work poorly. The general public does not mind open captions since they see them on TV in public places.

Catherine Harvey


Commenter has moderate hearing loss and supports the proposed regulations. She has stopped going to theaters because she misses too much dialog. It's not the volume, but, instead, the clarity of the sound. Captioning would make it possible for her to go to the movies again.

Melinda Demaris


Supports proposed rules. Commenter teaches visually impaired students. As part of curriculum, students attend a local movie theater to view movies. Describes issues with an existing audio description apparently due to lack of maintenance. Suggests rules deal with maintenance.

Judith J Purcell


Supports proposal on behalf of those who cannot hear.



Commenter is hearing impaired and supports proposed rules. Local theater provides open captioning at some (unpopular) times. Theater has closed captioning, but it was not available during a recent preview screening for an upcoming movie.

Steven Guttag


Opposes proposed regulations as they require businesses to purchase listening devices/displays for “potential” patrons. Also raises sanitation issues. Proposed rules are poorly conceived as are the existing assistive listening device rules. Supports, instead, a requiring theaters to transmit HI, VI-N and closed captioning on standard IR and RF frequencies, allowing those who need it to have their own receivers that would work in any theater. With user owned equipment, you no longer have to guess how many receivers are required. The exact number will be determined by the users. User owned devices can also be optimized for that particular user. Display devices should be regulated such that they are not a distraction in the auditorium due to light leakage. An inexpensive cellphone application could provide captioning, though that would put cameras in the auditorium, possibly leading to piracy issues. Enforcement could be achieved with a meter that ensures coverage of the auditorium.

Diana Kautzjy


Commenter has deaf parents and supports proposed rules. Enhances movie going experience and promotes family cohesiveness.

Anonymous Anonymous


Strongly prefers open captions. Does not like using closed captioning devices. Open captioning avoids issues with closed captioning devices such as bad sync, breakdowns, etc. Silent movies had intertitle cards showing dialog. General public should not object to open captions. Open captions are low cost since no closed captioning devices are required. Open captions can be supported with both digital and analog distribution.

Nancy Levy


Supports proposed regulations. Hearing impaired and deaf people also enjoy going to the movies. This increased attendance benefits theaters. Closed captioning systems have zero impact on other theater patrons.

Barbara Sheinbein


Blind commenter strongly supports audio description. Currently there are very few theaters offering audio description, and most do not know what it is.

Gail Trimpe-Morrow


Supports proposed regulations. They are long overdue since this has been available for television for many years. “Undue burden” and “fundamental alteration” need to be stringently defined and enforced to not allow exclusion due to cost.

Mikki Olmsted


Supports proposed regulations. Captions and audio description at all show times will increase access and decrease isolation of those with disabilities.

Silas Morrow


Supports proposed regulations. “This proposed legislation will go a great distance in establishing accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing citizens and youth in our nation! This legislation is truly supporting the fundamental belief of a nation built on equality and justice for all!”

Janice Doherty


Supports proposed regulations. Knows many people who have been able to enjoy a film due to the availability of captioning devices.

Anonymous Anonymous


Supports closed captioning in movie theaters. Does not appreciate having to wait for movie on DVD or having captioning available in limited theaters and times.

Anonymous Anonymous


Does not support proposed regulation. Commenter is co-owner of a “micro-cinema.” None of the patrons have ever requested an assistive device. Costs would be prohibitive. “To lessen the viewing experience of every single movie shown is absurd overkill, and would extremely detrimental to my business.”

Vonne Worth


Supports proposed regulations. Commenter is hearing impaired. Enjoys television with closed captions. Suports option 1 for analog theaters.

anonymous Anonymous


Supports proposed regulations. Hasn't been to a movie in years since can't hear dialog. Only watches closed caption TV.

Anonymous Anonymous


Theaters should be forced to supply closed captioning to allow equal access to everyone, including deaf and hard of hearing people.

thomas pennington


Commenter has hearing loss and opposes requiring theaters to provide this. It can be a major cost factor, especially for small theaters. It might be cost effective for large chains in the long run by bringing in people with disabilities.

Lou Ayers


Supports proposed rules. Major chains have already implemented this. Museums and other venues have open captions, and it has not decreased attendance. People are used to seeing closed captioning on television in public places. The idea that people would object to open captions in movie theaters is outdated. Closed caption devices are not frequently used because of the difficulty of looking down at the caption and up at the screen. While closed captions are appreciated, open captions would be better. Since movie producers include captions and audio descriptions with movies, open cations can be provided at not cost by just turning them on. On the other hand, providing closed captions requires a theater to buy equipment. Deaf and blind people should be excluded from this important part of society. Proposes requiring theaters to switch to digital within four years. Digital is more cost efficient and would increase profits.

Jacqueline Bataille


Commenter is blind and strongly supports proposal. This would be life changing since it would allow the blind to watch movies.

Anonymous Anonymous


Hearing impaired commenter supports proposed regulations. It is extremely frustrating to try to enjoy a movie without a closed captioning device. Many hearing impaired peole have stopped going to movie theaters and wait for movies to come out on DVD. Theaters will benefit from increased attendance.

Anonymous Anonymous


It would be helpful to have accurate closed captioning at movies. Captioning should be accurate. Wordss should be placed on film so the characters places can be viewed along with the captions. Captions should appear simultaneously with dialog or slightly before, never after.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter has avoided movies for a long time. Cannot imagine the freedom of going in and watching a first-run movie with the rest of the population. Supports four year deadline for analog theaters to have closed captioning and audio description. Six month deadline for digital screens is reasonable. Determining how to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden should be handled on a case by case basis, but eventually all should be held to the same standard of accessibility.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter has multiple disabilities. Objects to this expansion of ADA regulations, especially audio description. Closed captioning can probably be accomplished with minimal investment, but audio description is over the top. It is doubtful that those, like the commenter, who are visually impaired,, will listen to a description of what's on the screen. As ADA regulations have increased, businesses have become less welcoming of those with disabilities. Requiring audio description is akin to requiring someone describing the music at a concert. Supports ADA regulations in general, but have watched with dismay as public venues are required to expend large amounts of money to accommodate a smaller and smaller number of people. “Please, stop trying to help me - you are actually harming me !!”

Sara Mickelson


Commenter has hearing loss and mother of commenter is deaf. Supports proposal 100%. Proposed regulations will allow those with hearing impairments to attend movies with friends and family, causing theater revenue to skyrocket.

Sandra McClennen


Commenter has genetic hearing loss. Hearing aids work when she faces the person talking and there is no background noise. Music in movies makes it difficult to impossible to hear much of the dialog. Increasing the volume does not fix the problem. Has not attended movies in years. If captioning devices were provided, she would once again return to movies. Because of required captioning, she enjoys television.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is hard of hearing and supports proposal. Favors on-screen captioning as opposed to closed captioning. Says that closed captioning devices do not work until theater staff “turns on the switch to enable closed captioning.” Says that theater staff is often not adequately trained in operation of closed captioning equipment. Like several other commenters, points out that on-screen captions are common on TV screens in airports, gyms, sports arenas, sports bars, etc. Therefore, the general public should not object to on-screen captions.



I am sick and tired of the closed captioning provided on glasses in movie theaters. I prefer the open captioning made available to all movie patrons and where captions are shown ON the movie screen. Please eliminate the glasses, they give me a major headache everytime I roll my damn eyes to read those captions! “

Karen/CR Russell


Commenters favor open captions. When using closed caption devices, they have to turn over their drivers' license, which is a privacy concern. When they carry the devices, people ask what they are. Some people complain about open captions, but on TV, there are captions on the bottom (news). What's the difference?

Mary Butler


Commenter is hearing impaired and supports proposed rules. 6 month implementation for digital theaters and four year for analog is appropriate. There should be no undue burden exemption as there are many cost effective ways to provide captions.

Amy Ho


Supports proposed regulations.

Carly Alba


Supports making the world more accessible, but opposes these regulations. Does not want movie experience hindered or fundamentally changed through the addition of closed captions and audio description. Suggests providing an incentive to businesses that want to add captions on select films on individual request. Gives example of pool lifts that are installed, cost a lot, and are almost never used.

Ron Anonymous


If it is going to be a requirement. it should only be required to show at one of the scheduled times per movie; 6:00 pm closed captioned show for movie 'A' , 7:30 pm closed captioned show for movie 'B', etc. The times can change by the day of the week.This will be more in-line with having to offer hotel rooms in different locations within a hotel tower.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Does this mean that those of us that do not have disabilities will have to watch the movies with the the distracting captions? That could be a show pun intended...”

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is deaf. Supports open captions instead of closed captions. Finds glasses and reflectors uncomfortable and difficult to use.

Michael Goucher


Commenter has hearing and visual impairments. Welcomes the availability of equipment to help enjoy movies and television. Expresses concern about the costs of notifying customers that cations and descriptive audio are available. Suggests that these costs should be shared by the distributor and the exhibitor.

T Smart


We, deaf and hearing-impaired, need captioned on movies.”

Elaine Durrance


Yes we want captions on movies. “

Warner & Diane St. John


We are deaf since birth, and we want open view close captioned in theaters and on television for 100% in The Villages, Florida. We have not gone and watch any movies for a very long time. We want to enjoy and understand the movies with open view close captioned now. Our eyes are our ears ! “

Rosemary Mikos


I am hearing impaired and rely on captions, I am so happy to hear that theaters will be required to provide captions.
It is easy on the eyes to watch a movie with the captioning right on the screen. The current model of using glasses or rear view is a pain..”

Marie Dykes


I am hearing impaired and rely on captions, I am so happy to hear that theaters will be required to provide captions.“

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter owns an old (1948) theater with 685 seats. The theater never sells out and generally fills to 20% of capacity. The commenter is concerned that he/she will be required to have a quantity of ADA equipment based on seating capacity instead of attendance.

Jerome Lutin


Commenter has significant hearing loss and supports proposed rules. Provides statistics showing provision of closed captioning will increase industry revenue by $1.4 billion. “The Federal government has an obligation to provide equal access to movies for hearing impaired individuals.”

Susan Lutin


I am in favor of proposed Federal Rulemaking that would require movie theaters to provide closed captioning for the hearing impaired. “

anonymous anonymous


Due to profound hearing loss over the years and now a cochlear Implant recipient, I find understanding speech in the movies difficult. Some CC devices don't work with the CI processors or hearing aids very well, whereas, having closed captioning on the movie screen allows me/others to read and to fully understand what is said and to better enjoy a movie. “

Elizabeth Snyder


As someone who is hearing impaired and with a father who is also hearing impaired, I fully endorse this proposed rule! For too many years, we are unable to enjoy movies like the rest of the american public. Putting forward this rule would undoubtedly help the economy as all of those who suffer from mild to severe hearing loss would be able to support the cinema industry. I sincerely hope that this is pushed through!”

Anonymous Anonymous


Supporting this type of accommodation is so reasonable the modifications should already be in place. It's an issue that's long overdue for correction. The giant movie chains should want to do this and the government should help privately owned theater with costs. Either that or provide the movies at home the day they're released for folks with hearing disabilities.”

Andy Snyder


So important, with two hearing impaired family members this is too important to ignore! This needs to be pushed through now!”

Nancy Lutin


Commenter has husband and daughter with hearing impairments. A significant number of older Americans, who grew up loving movies, are filling theaters today and keeping them alive and thriving. Keeping these older patrons along with others with hearing impairments will more than compensate for the cost of providing closed captions.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is manager of small theater chain. In 20 years of working in theaters, can count on one hand the number of times asked about closed captioning or audio description. These are good services, but commenter's two theaters should not be forced to spend $20k for something that will be unused 99% of the time. As an alternative to providing closed captions, theaters should be allowed to provide open captions on some specified percentage of shows. Patrons will be unhappy with theater if the distributor does not provide captions with the movie.

Andrew Bate


Commenter is not deaf. Commenter is visually impaired, but does not require audio description. Supports proposed rule for digital and phase in for analog theaters. Undue burden should be considered on a case-by-case basis. If technology did not allow closed captioning for digital theaters, suggests 100% open captions on new movies. But, technology appears to support closed captions for digital, so this is not necessary. Cost of adding CC or D (audio description) symbol to advertising should be minimal, so the advertising requirement is supported.

Jaclyn Nagle


Supports proposed rules providing theater financial status is taken into account. These rules will benefit those who are deaf or hard of hearing but should not bankrupt theaters. Theaters should state whether these accommodations are available.

Nola Anonymous


Commenter has not attended a movie in 3 years due to hearing loss. Supports addition of captioning. Costs would be made up by increased attendance.

Shelly Anonymous


Being hearing impaired, I would appreciate captioning in movie theaters.
Hearing aids and various innovations and accessories are just that: aids. They do not allow clear audible receiving on their own. Captioning would go a long way toward allowing hearing impaired personnel to further enjoy movie presentations. “

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter owns a six screen theater with 700 seats and 20 employees. Estimated cost to comply with proposed regulations is $20k. Theater just converted to digital at considerable cost. This additional cost could force theater to close doors. Supports accessibility, but this degree does not make sense. Also, maintenance costs are unknown. Requests flexibility for small theaters in implementation time and number of devices required.

Toby Wong Durchslag


Extensive comment by deaf woman who regularly attends movies and has experience with open cations and various closed captioning devices. Requests that studios be required to caption movies. Requests that open captions be required at “regular movie going times.” Finds some closed caption devices humiliating, pointing out that she is deaf. Some patrons reported her to management thinking she was pirating the movie. Theaters should be required to supply less conspicuous closed caption devices. Require theaters to run public service announcements about these devices so the hearing audience understands what's going on. DOJ is doing great work in expanding the scope of ADA.

Anonymous Anonymous


Although I strongly support providing accommodation for individuals with disabilities, I believe it is wrong to legislate or regulate the way a movie is made available to the public. It should be the choice of the theater to show their support for individuals with disabilities by providing accommodations of any kind.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Cites statistics that 20% of Americans have hearing loss making communications difficult. Television captioning started in 1972. “Enjoying the movie experience with family and friends is an American pastime that has been denied to too many for too long.” “Compliance with the ADA Act of 1990 must not be delayed a moment longer.”

Margie English


I very much support this because watching movies at theaters is an American pastime that has not been accessible to deaf people. I encourage that the definition of financial burden be limited. I have seen businesses cry an inability to afford this expense and then invest in a major expansion of services. An investment in this technology may be borrowed or built into ordinary start-up costs instead of considering it an feature to be added later. “

Darren Jones, The Grand Theatre


Commenter owns a theater that converted to digital two years ago. The high cost of the conversion leaves no funds for the equipment mandated by the proposed regulations. He has compassion for the hearing impaired, and is hard of hearing himself, but in the 20 years he's run the theater, he has been asked about hearing impaired equipment twice. If this was mandated, he'd be forced out of business.

Sandy Faulk


Requiring movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed movie captioning and audio description, will be very helpful for persons that are visually impaired and/or Blind. It will certainly help them enjoy the movie ever more. “

Michael Novak


Commenter and wife are deaf; daughter is hearing. Various attempts to see movies at theaters with captioning . In several cases, the captioning did not work. Another theater they went to had no captioning equipment. “When this proposed rule came out, I was surprised because I thought movie theaters were already required to provide captions. To pass this proposed rule will be nice but it should have been passed many years ago, especially since the box office industry is already dying. “

Joe Tate


The ADA is nearly 25 years old. As a nation we should be comfortable with the idea of reasonable accommodations. Access to the wonders of film should be for all Americans. Regardless of disability. As a nation we have made a real effort to ensure that architectural barriers in theaters are removed. The barriers that keep people from experiencing cinema visually or through the support of audio description should be just as high of a priority. I strongly support movie captioning and audio description.”

Barbara Burton


Theaters should provide captions and audio description. Minimum of caption devices should be four, not two. These devices should be checked daily by theater staff. Too often the equipment does not work and theater employees have no idea how to make it work.

Carol F King


Commenter is severely hearing impaired and has blind friends. People around her get upset if she's describing the movie to her blind friends. “It would seem to me good business for movies to be made so that deaf or hearing impaired friends can attend movies with hearing friends or family. The same with blind or visually impaired people.”

Dotty Maddock


Commenter lives in Idaho, has lost her hearing, and has trouble finding any theaters with captioning. Supports the proposed rules. It's the right thing to do. It should not be an excess burden to theaters since 10% of the population is deaf or hard of hearing, so ticket sales should go up 10% if captioning is added.

Lakshmi Fjord


Commenter is social science researcher who focuses on the benefits for all of society when accommodations are made under the aegis of disability nondiscrimination. Points out that all people make use of accommodations provided for disabled. “Every adaptation that was first designed to include disabled people's needs has become integral to everyone's communication systems, while enhancing popular usages of public spaces. All of these accommodations have brought strong economic benefits. “ Failing to add captions and audio description will increase the divide in the population as the population ages.

Richard Baldwin


I fully support regulations to require captions in movie theaters. Captioned television allows me to enjoy television and while I do go to movies I depend on my wife and friends to explain much of what I miss and this is when I wear theater provided amplification. With an aging population and hearing loss becoming more prevalent I urge Congress to act on my behalf as well as all who would like to go to the movies and understand what the actors are saying.”

Anonymous Anonymous


The proposed rule must be supported enacted, and enforced, if hearing impaired individuals are to attain full participation, citizenship, and fair treatment in America. “

Anonymous Anonymous


Captioning in theaters is essential. Hearing loss affects a large portion of the population, increasing with age. Captioning is the way for those with hearing loss to understand speech in theaters. Amplification does not increase intelligibility. Theaters will benefit from increased attendance. Those with hearing loss have been waiting long enough. Large theaters should have captioning equipment available for all auditoriums. Small theaters may be exempt (reasonable accommodation) unless they are the only theater within 30 miles. Undue burden language needs to be more specific. :Those authoring this legislation should have written input from key hearing-impaired consumer and professional organizations, including HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) and ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).”

Anonymous Anonymous


Everybody should have the right to experience the movie theater experience disabled or not disabled. Overall is a great idea. But thinking at the costs implied to provide the required devices to accommodate this new ADA amendment, the movie theaters will accommodate and in consequence will have to recover the respective expense. This probably will be reflected in the ticket price for the movie. Will it be fair for all of us to pay a higher price per ticket to accommodate this new ADA amendment? Or will it be fair for the persons that will use the respective accommodations to pay a higher price for their movie tickets?”

Patricia Ormsby


This regulation is extremely important to allow hearing impaired to remain a part of society and avoid isolation. Increasing the volume of sound (like existing assistive listening devices) does not help make it understandable. “Captioning allows a person to read what they cannot hear and enjoy life in a form that is not otherwise available to them. “

alicia wein


This makes sense for the entire population!”

Amanda Good


I strongly support this amendment to the ADA. This is an accommodation that is very easy to provide and will make a tremendous difference to an increasing number of people.”

Matthew Miller


This needs more study and perhaps a pilot program before rules are established. Consideration needs to be made of the size of the theater. “In closing, I DO NOT support this rule in it's current form, unless there was some kind of pilot program to help gather much needed statistics and some real world numbers. I do not envy those that have to make this decision, but do find it a worthwhile conversation and hope it draws more attention and sensitivity to all accessibility issues.”

Gloria Anonymous


Even for those who hear perfectly, It would often be of value to be able to discern the words. Some actors or actresses are not as easily understood, have accents or speak very quickly. For those of us who can hear, it would be an advantage to actually be certain of what the actors were saying. So, everyone would benefit from captioning.”

Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General.


On August 1, 2014, the Department of Justice published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in theFederal Registerin order to propose amendments to its Americans with Disabilities Act title III regulation to require the provision of closed movie captioning and audio description to give persons with hearing and vision disabilities access to movies. The comment period is scheduled to close on September 30, 2014. The Department of Justice is extending the comment period until December 1, 2014 in order to provide additional time for the public to prepare comments.”

Carolee Moss


Attending movies has always been one of my favorite forms of recreation. However, with my increasing hearing loss it's unfortunate that I can only enjoy movies with captioning or audio devices, which very few theaters have. With the onset of hearing loss in enormous numbers of baby boomers, this need will only increase in coming years. I strongly approve of the proposed rule: Captioning and Audio Description: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations.”

judie fortier, Women of Vision NGO


Supports proposed rules. Suggests support for small nonprofit theaters that may not be able to afford equipment.

Lisa DiRado


I strongly support this amendment to the ADA. The ADA allows citizens with hearing disabilities the opportunity to participate in society. This rule allows hearing impaired people to access all of the dialogue in a movie. Theater owners will benefit from the increased attendance of those who would otherwise not attend movies because they cannot understand what is being said.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is member of deaf community. Supports having captions in movie theaters. Benefit to hearing impaired is substantial compared to possible distraction to others. Does not support captioning at only certain showings. Captioning can also help non-English speakers to improve their reading of English.

Charlene Fenton


I do not think it is right that all individuals have to be subjected to the close captioning in movie theaters. It would be a distraction to most people including myself and my family. It could also cost movie ticket prices to increase. Again not fair to the majority. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but I am tired of the masses being subjected to stringent rules. Yet another rule for a few thus another rule on our freedoms as individuals. Now, there could be compromises to this rule. For example, one or two days a week a movie theater could offer the feature of close captioning. This would allow those who want to watch a movie with close captioning the availability. To make this the norm for ever movie is not right. “

Jane Smiley


Many of my friends are hearing impaired and as most folks get older their hearing becomes more limited. Therefore it would seem justified and economical for theaters to have captioning devices so one could enjoy movies in theaters.”

Audrey Pleasant


Commenter has hearing loss, is member of the Hearing Loss Association of America, and supports the proposed rules. Thos with hearing loss are large and increasing portion of the population. Exclusion of the opportunity to view movies increases the isolation of people with disabilities who are struggling to be a part of mainstream society. The technology is now available to remedy this situation and should be implemented as soon as possible. Captioning is more effective than amplifying devices. Theaters will see increased profits due to increased attendance. Captioning should be available at all showings at all theaters as soon as possible with the exception of small theaters that can demonstrate their inability to implement captioning due to finances.

Glory Fowler


It seems to me that showing the captions that are already part of most movies would be a lot cheaper for the theater owner, much easier to use than the assistive devices offered (clumsy, uncomfortable) and would free up funds to work on the audio description service for those who are sight-impaired. I became deaf at 64, after a lifetime of hearing and enjoying movies in a theater. I have a cochlear implant which helps me to hear sound, but not necessarily to make meaning of it. The captioning available on television and DVDs helps me immeasurably to make meaning of what I hear and i would like to have the same advantage in movie theaters.”

Anonymous Anonymous


I have family and friends who have mild to substantial hearing loss and as a result, most do not go to the movies. Captioning would allow them to attend movies with family and friends, enjoying a fuller social life. As I age, I expect someday this may also help me!“

david dubay


This rule will benefit the theaters since it will bring in more of the Hard of Hearing and Deaf and DeafBlind community. Many theaters already provide this service. In my case, I can enjoy the theater once again. One problem I've noticed is that most movie trailers are NOT captioned. I strongly support this amendment to the ADA. Only with captioning am I able to access all of the dialogue in a movie. Without captioning attending movies is a total loss to me. I would like to be able to go to the movies with friends and family members who have hearing loss. This includes a lot of people.

leigh winfield


My name is Leigh Winfield, I am a blind man wishing to access information in movie theaters. After listening to described movies from library's and other sources it is extremely disappointing to visit a theater without being albe to understand vidios. I of course have to pay the same price as everyone else. Their are so miny services that are denied we who are disabled that the thaught of just one more is unthinkable. I shongly incourage the DOJ to consider this rule change very seriously and enable captioning and audio description in movie theaters.”

Colin Lualdi


Commenter is deaf individual who enjoys going to movies. Answers specific NPRM questions. Answers summarized or quoted here.

Q2: Definition of movie theater should be expanded to include drive-in theaters, museums, resorts, and cruise ships. Technology has advanced since drive in movie industry comments of 2010. If limited range of captioning and descriptive audio transmission is an interest, an area of the drive-in could be set aside where coverage is available.

Q4: “I believe that using the term "closed captioning" is fine as long as there is clarification about the extent of the closed captioning service. For example, saying "personal closed captioning devices" would make the same distinction as the much lesser used term "individual captioning devices". “

Q5: “Yes, the term "Open Captioning" is appropriate for the described service.”

Q9: “Based on my experiences, open captioned movies are most useful for large groups of deaf movie-goers. A possible scenario would be an educational student field trip from a deaf school. Thus, the regulations should be set up such that it is reasonably easy for such customers to request a special screening (i.e. a daytime matinee, which does not interfere with the main business hours) with open captions as theaters rarely carry enough closed captions devices for large groups of deaf customers.”

Q11: “11: Yes, I feel satisfied with the proposed performance standards for the captioning services.”

Toni Greenfeld


I strongly support this amendment to the ADA. Without captioning I cannot understand all of the dialogue in a movie, and attending movies is very disappointing to me. There are so many of us who do not attend movies as often as we would like because we cannot hear all of the dialogue. Amplification alone is totally inadequate. The issue is clarity of speech for comprehension. Theater owners would benefit from increased attendance that would occur with captioning. “

Jaime Anonymous


Comments on closed captioning on cable television instead of movies.

Anonymous Anonymous


I support the captioning of movies for deaf/ hard of hearing poeple. My husband cannot enjoy movies now because he cannot keep up with reading the dialog. Please give everyone the right to enjoy a movie! “

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is owner of a twin first run movie theater in a town of 5,000. Cites statistics demonstrating that patrons cannot afford higher admission rices that would be required should the theater be required to purchase additional equipment. “I beg you to no longer consider this as a requirement but merely a suggestion for theatre owners to accommodate those with visual & audible challenges.”

Alexander Johnson


Requests that captions be required to not be all upper case. Provides photo of television caption in all upper case that is more difficult to read than mixed upper/lower case.

Richard Williams


Hearing aids make things loud--movies are plenty loud--but NOT understandable. I have returned to movies after a 5-10 year hiatus to thetres with caption glasses. NATO will come out ahead in the long run. Move forward.”

Anonymous Anonymous


I agree with the right of a disabled person to enjoy every opportunity for entertainment that everyone enjoys on a day to day basis with no barriers. The relaxation and escape of attending a movie, especially in the state of the art theaters of today, is wonderful. With the technology of today, it would be good to have devices available for both the visually and hearing impaired. I use 3D glasses for 3D movies. I do not bring my own 3D glasses, they are provided by the theater and a moviegoer returns the glasses after the movie for use by future moviegoers. Similar devices, could be available for the hearing and visually impaired to enjoy their movie theater experience. The 3D glasses that I use do not interfere, in any way, with fellow moviegoers. It is my opinion that any device used by any other moviegoer for any other enhanced experience should not, in any way, interfere with their fellow moviegoers. With all the technology that we have, like Google Glass, the viewer could wear a similar device that allows only that moviegoer to actually see the closed caption wording on the screen. Similarly, a visual impaired individual could get the movie explained by way of wearing earbuds.”

Shelly Danley


I support this proposal.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Supports proposed rules. Hearing aids do not always make speech understandable. Some people read lips, but that does not work if actor is not facing camera. “The movie glasses and the other movie devices are very oppression to Deaf people as we have to wear ridiculous thing on our face so the hearing people can enjoy without closed caption on the screen. “ Though owners are concerned about costs, the deaf and hard of hearing have a right to access closed captioned movies. Also, for those who English is a second language, they can read and listen to improve their English. “t's time to move on and accept the fairness and enjoyable for everyone!”

Angel Brown


Those with disabilities should be able to enjoy movies the same as the rest of the population. However, concerns of those without disabilities need to also be considers. Does not support closed captions on the screen for every show. If this rule is implemented, there should be two shwoings per movie, one with captions and one without. Recognizes this will increase costs for theaters and will likely affect ticket prices.

Ashley Lindsay


Does not support proposed rules. Additional costs will raise ticket prices which will decrease movie attendance. Theaters are competing with streaming services for audience. The six month deadline does not allow adequate time for an annual budget.

Anonymous St. Pete College


Agrees with proposed regulations provided financial impact on small theaters is limited. “Based on the financial estimates in the proposal, it would appear that they would be able to recoup their investment rather quickly.“

karla kesselring


I would like to see Movie Theaters for Captioning because I see deaf and hard of hearing had hard time to understand the word so that will be great have to Movie Theater on captioning so they will be very happy”

Neal Steiger


This rule change is long overdue. Advocates use of induction loops.

Anonymous Anonymous, Satellite Cinemas Titusville


while Satellite Cinemas fully supports the belief that all audiences should have the right to enjoy motion pictures, for our small company to comply with these mandates would prove financially prohibited.” “Through research during the company transition, it was discovered that those particular hearing devices were not used or requested to be used 98% of the time. Nor throughout Satellite Cinemas Titusvilles opening has there been a request for any caption or audio devices since the day the doors opened.” “We sincerely hope that we will be excused from this possible mandate. If it goes through, it could cause a financial break and possible bankruptcy.”

Scott Smith


This is very important legislation that will benifet so many individuals. My wife and I watch many movies at AMC theaters and thanks to the DVS we can both enjoy the movies fully. In addition, the requirement for making Satellite and Cable receivers accessible is very important. Finally, requiring manufacturers to make there menus and remotes accessible via voice output is the most important.“

Anonymous Anonymous


Captioning would be very helpful. Too often the sound is not loud enough or the background noise, music, etc. makes it impossible to discern what is happening between characters. Low conversations and whispering are impossible to hear. Our population is getting older and it will be reflected in hearing losses across the population. Hearing aids do not replace normal hearing abilities.”

Anonymous Anonymous, Satellite Cinemas Titusville


Duplicate of DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0175

Ellen Carrington


I had stopped going to movies as I could not understand the sound. Captioned glasses make movies enjoyable again!”

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter has cochlear implant. Prefers open captions but accepts closed captions. Comments on a couple closed caption technologies. Mentions that captions are useful to those learning English.

Alicia Albertson


The proposed rule will provide an equal opportunity for everyone to enjoy a movie in a theater. The proposed rules will not fundamentally alter the services provided by a movie theater. The proposed four year transition for analog theaters is better than not placing a requirement on these theaters at this time. Leaving analog theaters unregulated would leave many visually or hearing impaired theater-goers without an option to view movies. If analog theaters disappear, this rule would have no effect on them. If they remain, those with impairments will have access. Points out that “closed movie captioning” is not on the screen, so it would not be objectionable to to other viewers. Drive-in theaters should not be excluded, but, instead, should be required to comply when the technology becomes available. The benefits of the proposed rules outweigh the costs. These comments provide many citations in support of the arguments presented.

Elizabeth Little


The proposed rules provide clarity to the requirement that movie theaters must provide effective communication. The proposed notice requirement will allow users to determine if a movie is accessible in the same manner they search for movies (for example, the theater web site). Rules for analog screens, with 4 year deadline, should be implemented now. The Department should require movie studios to provide closed captions and VI audio in movies. Recognizing that the Department's authority over movie theaters derives from their being a “public accommodation,” while movie studios are not, the commenter suggests that theaters be required to show captioned movies. If a studio wants the movie to show in a theater in the U.S., it will provide captions. Suggests a five year compliance deadline for studios.

Marsha Tuck


Strongly supports proposed rules.

Barb Quart


Theaters will benefit since hard of hearing and deaf/blind will be able to attend theater. Noticed that trailers are not captioned. With captioning, can understand dialog. Without captioning, movie is a total loss.

Meghan Schoeffling


Commenter strongly supports providing audio description on all movies. Describes experience where she went to a movie that was advertised as having audio description, but the equipment did not work.

Claudia Daws


Commenter has attended movies 6 times in past year and requested audio description for each. She received audio description once. In the other cases, they did not know what audio description was, gave her HI headphones, or the equipment did not work.

Gayle Bettega


As a hard of hearing person I urge you to require closed captioning in all theaters so that I can enjoy going to the movies again.”

Nanci Linke-Ellis


Commenter is deaf and has been involved in movie captioning issue for many years. Gives a history of movie captioning. Recognizes that while open captions are preferred, attendance of open caption movies makes this uneconomical (gives example of 3 people in a 300 seat auditorium). Regulations must not require an excessive number of devices. If a theater finds they run short, they should buy more or borrow some. Placing excessive requirements on small theaters may force them to close, which makes local captioned movies unavailable.

Kathy Hagstrom


Does not comment on movie closed captions, but instead comments on lack of closed captions on broadcasts of city government meetings.

Bobbie Cape Cod


Commenter tells of chain theater that offers closed captions, and audio devices. The theater is very supportive, but shows mostly violent or unappealing. Smaller theaters that offer the movies the commenter wants to see do not offer captioning. If a group of four wants to see a movie, but one person cannot hear, the group of four will do something else. That's a loss of four ticket sales, not just one.

Maury Ferreira


I strongly urge you to support the Department's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act title III regulation to provide closed movie captioning and audio description to give persons with hearing and vision disabilities access to movies. We need the proposed law to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing viewers have equal access to enjoying watching movies just like hearing viewers.”

Michele Stokes


Commenter is deaf and relies on captioning. Does not like cup holder devices since she has to hold her head in a certain position for a couple hours. Theater provided information on the availability of closed captioning should also indicate the type of equipment. Supports open captions.

Elizabeth Kobylak


Supports proposed rules. Has used closed captioning equipment in movie theaters. The technology needs to be universally available, work, and theater staff needs to know how to operate and troubleshoot it.

Genevieve Ryder


Commenter suffers from a severe hearing loss. Is grateful that two local theaters offer closed captioning.

Kerasotes Theatres Tim Johnson


Commenting company has over 100 years as movie exhibitor. Supports closed captioning and audio description and has installed the equipment. The number of closed captioning receivers required by the proposed rules is excessive. Commenter's facilities range in size from 2,700 to 3,700 seats. The 2,700 seat theater would require 30 caption receivers under the proposed rules. Commenter has tracked actual demaind for closed captioning. The maximum number of receivers given out at one time is five. Even one receiver per screen is excessive since their smallest theater has 14 screens. Audio description demand is lower with a maximum of one device out at a time. The excessive number of receivers ties up capital and discourages installation of newer technologies since every facility would be over-saturated with today's technology. Recommends requiring two receivers if annual attendance is under 75,000. If higher, require 4 receivers plus an additional receiver for each additional 75,000 annual attendance. With this structure, the commenter's smallest facility would require 12 receivers, more than twice the existing peak demand, but considerably below the 30 required under the proposed rules. The audio description receiver requirements should be lower than those for captions. The lower receiver count would have an environmental advantage due to reduced number of batteries. Nonprofit theaters should not be excluded from the requirement. Supports use of term “individual captioning” over “closed movie captioning,” as the public thinks of “closed captioning” as being on the screen (TV). A one year compliance window is suggested over the six months proposed to allow for budgeting, manufacturing, and installation backlogs. Decisions on analog locations should be deferred since they are likely to convert to digital. Proposed advertising requirement would have minimal cost for most exhibitors. However, theaters often do not know whether content has captions or audio description until it arrives, which is often after the advertising deadline. Training costs are likely to be minimal. Because of economies of scale, implementation costs are considerably higher for smaller theaters. The regulatory cost approach taken by the Department is overly simplistic and does not take the scale into consideration. The Department should determine undue burden based on a percentage threshold of net earnings.

Anonymous Anonymous


I am 8th grade student from Rochester MN the best city in the world. I think it would be helpful to other people in Minnesota and in the United states. I think that because when you miss a word or a name you can just look up the caption and if you are deaf you can can read it and understand. Also you are not going to feel left out. I think it is good for people in Minnesota whether or not they are deaf,hearing loss or you have normal hearing. I think it should not be only in Minnesota but in the United States of America.God bless America”

Anonymous Anonymous


I am a 6th grade student with hearing loss. I think close captioning is good because some people would like it and others would not.If people forget to wear their hearing aids they need a tool to help them.”

Randy orton


I am a 8th grade student with hearing loss in Rochester MN the best city in the world -_- I think it should be a choice between people but they should pay a little more to play the movie but not a lot of money or you could just watch the movie but the people cant stop you because u have freedom of speech to say what you want I think you should be able to watch it with caption if you want its ok to be deaf in mn but other people should let them have choices on captions “

Myra Kovary, Finger Lakes Independence Center


The mission if the Finger Lakes Independence Center in Ithaca, NY is to empower people with disabilities while creating an inclusive society through the elimination of social and architectural barriers. Many people with disabilities in our community are unable to enjoy watching movies and do not attend movie theaters due to lack of accommodations for vision and hearing disabilities. The Finger Lakes Independence Center fully supports the Department of Justice proposal to explicitly require movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed captioning and audio description at all times and for all showings whenever movies are produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with captioning and audio description. “

Lynn Lesperance


I had to stop going to the movies because my hearing loss is such that only captioning makes them understandable to me. Then Regal started captioning some of their offerings. It is a godsend but I have had to miss movies I really wanted to see because those particular ones were not captioned at this theater. At present, I have to travel farther and to a theater that I am less comfortable with in order to get captioned movies. Please, sign new laws making theaters more accessible.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Can't believe this hasn't happened yet!”

Judy Kim, Gardena Cinema, LLC


Commenter operates a single screen theater with seating for 800. Typical attendance is 10 or 12 with peak attendance at 100. Annual admissions are under 24,000. Just spent 100,000 on digital conversion and cannot afford the $7,000 for receivers plus $1,625 for the transmitter. Six months is too short an implementation time. Commenter enjoys open captions.

Jon Goldstein


Please seriously consider the requirements for exhibitors that under a certain size. To force small businesses to spend thousands of dollars on technology that could be outdated in a year is burdensome.
As a small exhibitor, I welcome making the experience better for all customers including the deaf and blind. However, we typically have 1-3 requests for devices a week. To have to purchase a bunch of expensive equipment that is going to sit and gather dust under our box office is not a solution. It is just a problem for a different group of people. Please listen to NATO and understand that they have the statistical information and data that will provide an appropriate solution to all parties. Thank you for your work and your desire to find a fair solution for all parties.”

Andrew Thomas


Commenter operates two small theaters. It would be fairly expensive to outfit each auditorium, but the cost of the required number of receivers would be prohibitive. Suggests a set of standards for theaters to follow so a patron will be accommodated everywhere. Requests a reasonable number of receivers be required. Proposed a phased implementation.

Absolom Herrera, Sturm College of Law Administrative Law Class


Although we agree with the overall purpose behind the Department’s proposed rulemaking, there simply is not enough quantifiable evidence to justify such immediate action.” “The Department itself stated that the benefits of these proposed rules are difficult to quantify. The Department admitted that it has not been able to locate robust data on the rate at which persons with hearing and/or eyesight disabilities currently go to the movies, and instead lists speculative benefits that allegedly justify such rules.” “Although the Department gives statistics regarding the amount of individuals who suffer from hearing and/or eyesight disabilities in the United States, it does not list any sort of quantifiable evidence of how many individuals who suffer from such disabilities would actually be interested in going to the movies if theaters were required to abide by the proposed rules. It appears to us that this could have easily been taken care of through a variety of methods, but particularly through some sort of mass survey...” “There are plenty of individuals who agree with the proposed rulemaking. However, there are plenty of others who stated that regardless of whether these rules were adopted, they still would not go to the movies because the devices are uncomfortable or inconvenient to use, or they feel uncomfortable because they are being singled out and stared at whenever they go to the movies. Many raise the argument that the real issues are the devices themselves rather than the fact that not all theaters exhibit movies in closed captioning and audio description.” ”We are not saying that the benefits of the proposed rules would not outweigh the costs and justify the rules that the Department is proposing. However, we are asking for the Department to do more research and provide more quantifiable evidence in order to better measure whether benefits truly outweigh the costs before such rules are adopted. If there is only a slight increase in the attendance of individuals who suffer from hearing and/or eyesight disabilities, and therefore only a slight increase in movie theaters’ sales, then surely the benefits would not outweigh the explicit costs associated with this proposed rulemaking.” “We agree with the overall purpose of the proposed rules. However, we oppose the Department’s proposed rules on the basis of insufficient evidence in support of the requirements of these rules. We simply cannot justify imposing such costs on movie theaters when there is not enough data to measure whether the benefits would outweigh the costs. It follows, therefore, that because we believe more research needs to be done before these proposed rules are adopted, we also oppose the time proposals for these rules. For these reasons, we oppose all of the Department’s proposed rules (at this time).”

Deborah Pfeiffer


I fully support this law. Captioning and audio description should be available upon request by those needing it to access the movie, and would not interfere with others enjoying the movie without seeing the captions or hearing the audio description. Captioning benefits 3-6 / 1000 individuals born with hearing impairment; it also would benefit the growing number of baby boomers loosing their hearing as they age. We should also think of the large number of wounded warriors returning home with hearing losses due to UEDs. Captioning also helps people with English as a second language to understand. Description helps people with visual impairments understand what is happening in a movie (think of all the sounds in a movie that convey information that would not be in the captions - especially in movies featured for Halloween - a door creaking open, footsteps behind a person, a scream in the background, etc.) “

Jack Pancheri, Thomas Theatre Group


Commenter operates 26 screens and has 100 employees. Supports the belief that all patrons should be able to enjoy the movies they provide. However, the number of units specified in the proposed rules is excessive. The existing assistive listening devices are rarely requested. In 50 years in business, have never told anyone all assistive listening devices were in use. Theater owners are able to determine the number of devices required based on the market. The recent digital conversion and minimum wage increases have negatively impacted theater owners. A mandate to provide these devices is unreasonable. Theater owners are installing the equipment without a government mandate.

Louis Schwarz


Describes experience where the movie itself was not captioned (theater had captioning equipment). Supports proposed rules.

Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association


Suggests including captioning and audio description on all content, including advertising and trailers. Supports proposed 6 month implementation deadline. Proposes that theaters start with the proposed number of devices, then adjust as required to meet actual demand. Supports proposed requirements on staff training. Proposes theaters document training and equipment maintenance. Supports proposed requirement that theaters provide notification as to which movies have closed captioning and audio description. Proposes a uniform method for patrons to report issues to theater. Discusses use of loop systems and telecoils.

Anonymous Anonymous


I have a deaf sister; my childhood might have been drastically different if we had been able to attend movies at the theater together. Several years ago, a theater in the Chicagoland area started offering subtitles / closed captioning, and their credibility in terms of accessibility skyrocketed. My family would travel 1.5 hours there to get to spend a day together as a family without excluding my sister. “

Nick Gawronski


Please have the headsets for the hearing and the blind look different or train the people who manage them on how to properly hand them out as I have gotten the def headsets when I am totally blind so want the descriptions not louder audio”

Alice Russell


As a movie buff who is hard of hearing it has been disappointing not to be able to see movies in the theater on a big screen as part of an audience. Dealing with hearing loss on a daily basis is exhausting and frustrating and not to be able to socialize at restaurants and movies reduces options to relieve some of that stress as well as participate in a larger community. For me movies are a source of entertainment and education as well. With digital technology there is an opportunity to make movie theaters accessible and open to a larger audience. I urge any action and legislation that would make this a reality.”

Mark Collins, Marcus Theatres


Commenter's theaters has been running captions for the past two years. During that time, there were 1.7 million performances for 38 million patrons. During that time, no more than 4 or 5 captioning devices were required in any theater. A high initial receiver requirement now would discourage future device purchases as technology progresses. Gives example of receiving captions on tablets and similar devices.

Connie Altic


I am a firm advocate of equal rights for people with disabilities. If the television can provide closed captiniong I firmly believe that movie theaters should also provide this for them. I have worked with disabled adults, and children for over 30 years, and feel that the more we get on board with making things more accessible to them, the more we will see less problems. I hope this passes.”

Alexander Ford


The Department should not let the absence of strong reliable economic data on the class of disabled individuals prevent it from taking action or adopting the proposed regulation.” “The best interest of the class is served if the Department: extends the compliance date for digital screens in some manner of its choosing, regulates analogue screens, chooses not to regulate drive-in theaters, adopts the terminology as proposed, and considers a hybrid compliance plan regarding accommodation devices rather than requiring a set amount of devices in a theater. Therefore, this comment is in support of the regulation as proposed with the caveat of the concerns, notes, and comments below.” Proposes sliding compliance date based on number of screens. Proposes allowing theaters to use smart phone applications to deliver captions as an alternative or supplement to the provision of devices.

Anonymous Anonymous


I have hearing-impaired friends and I know how important it is that movie theaters be required to accommodate those customers by having up-to-date, functioning captioning and hearing-aid devices. Not only would that service enhance the quality of life for the hearing-impaired, but would be economically good for movie producers and theatres.”

June Coha


Please require the implementation of visual and audio accommodations for those who are hearing impaired in theaters. This need will only become even more necessary as the current, large, baby boomer generation are losing their hearing also. “

Dale Haider, Muller Family Theatres


During the digital conversion we installed captioning/audio transmitters in every one of our auditoriums. Each one of our complexes supplied 2 or 3 of each captioning and assisted listening devices. We made our patrons aware of this equipment thru our website, signage at all of our box offices and thru our other marketing materials. It took about a year before anybody asked for them. At some of our locations the units have never been used. We do have one location where we received overlapping requests for the open caption units so we ordered more for that location so that we could meet the needs of our patrons. Like all good theatre operators we want to make our patrons happy so they will keep coming back to our theatre. As the demand to use the captioning and assisted listening devices increases we will purchase more units. Under the DOJ proposed rule our company would be required to automatically purchase an additional $105,000 worth of equipment that would most likely sit on a shelf due to lack of demand. We understand the DOJs desire to make sure that all people have an equal opportunity to see a move but we feel the proposed requirement of the number of units each complex must have is far too high. Basing the number of units a complex should have based on the seat count is not appropriate.“ “We urge the DOJ to allow us as a responsible business operator to determine the appropriate number of units we need.”

Genevieve Ryder


Both my husband and I have severe hearing loss and would love to have the freedom to enjoy movies with captions. There are a couple of theaters near us who have voluntarily installed this feature with special glasses so that the general theater audience doesn't have to cope with seeing the captions. The loudness of sound does not help when one understands only 10% of what is being said!”

Ricki Seidman


My friend Liz is legally blind. She loves going to the movies. I love going to the movies with her. I never exactly know what she is able to see, but I know that her enjoyment of films has improved at theaters that offer audio description. I know she gets so much more out of the films. And I want to be able to go to any theater to see movies with her, not just theaters that offer audio description. This new regulation would make that possible. Now that this technology is available, it seems a very small thing to do for people with disabilities. And it will enable more people to attend movies with their friends who have limited vision. Please finalize this change to the ADA regulations.”

Eleanor Lewis


One of my very best friends, who shares my love of going to the movies, is legally blind. We are fortunate to live in a large metropolitan area where a number of movie theater chains have voluntarily installed "audio description" for her to enjoy first run movies. Every legally blind person should have this access in movie theaters throughout our country.” “My late husband... , too, benefited from "audio description" during those early years of his mild to moderate dementia when the dialogue was often too fast or nuances for him to understand. “



The theater industry should be allowed to phase into compliance with this proposed regulation.” “Perhaps the agency should consider a phased transition based on percentages of theaters with 50% of a companys theaters compliant in six months; 75% within 18 months; and 100% compliance within 2 years. This would also benefit smaller theater companies because it is based on a percentage. And, it would give mom and pop single theaters a full two years to consider their options and make appropriate business decisions.” “This proposed regulation should not apply to theaters that use analog systems and are not going to transition to digital systems.” “It makes sense to require that employees be trained to comply with the proposed regulation. However, the agency should bear in mind, that the theater industry may experience a high turnover rate for employees.” “Number of Captioning Devices - It should be considered that a deaf person is likely to arrive in the company of other people who are deaf.“ “Side Benefit -
This proposed regulation will not only benefit those who have a physical inability to see or hear as well as the average person, but will also benefit those for whom English is their second language. “

Anonymous Anonymous


It is incumbent upon the Department of Justice to require movie theaters, producers of movies and any other entity involved in the movies production to provide captioning and audio description to all movies.” “Prior to audio description they were forced to audibly whisper questions throughout the show to fill in for what they could not see. More often than not, other movie-goers would let us know the whispers were bothersome. With audio description this doesn't occur. Audio description is so thorough and vivid that I have thought about checking it out for myself because it sees a lot more than my eyes capture. It is a wonderful development that enhances the movie for all.” “Captioning is critically important as well.
It should be noted that many movie-goers do not know this type of accommodation is readily available for the asking because it is not announced in a public way. I've told many people inside the theater that this accommodation is available, because they were going in without the device. They were grateful to know and let me know how much they enjoyed the experience. Therefore if there is a lack of public commentary on this issue it is not lack of support as much as it is lack of public knowledge.”

Anonymous Anonymous


I am a deaf person. I love going to movie theaters and to those that have open captioning. If a captioning device is used, I will not attend the theaters anymore. I had the experience of using it in Omaha, I was frustrating and upset because it was difficult to read from it. Please let us enjoy the movies with the open captioning.”

Anonymous Anonymous


I can't believe this isn't already in place everywhere with every movie! Recently I went to the movies with a friend who doesn't see very well, and it was the coolest thing! She could get so much more of the non-verbal message from the movie than before, and therefore enjoy it more. And there was no need to whisper what was going on in the movie, and interrupt the experience of others around us. Seems like a win-win to me. It may cost a little more to do, but more people will be able to come see and enjoy movies thus offsetting the slight additional cost. REALLY hope this rule is put in place!”

Charles Lawrence


With the growth of 3D films, a significant portion of the public with visual problems is being ignored.” “Without the glasses, even a normal person without visual disabilities sees a distorted image. However the use of 3D glasses does not help the person with a visual problem.” “When a monocular vision (one good eye) person views a 3D film using the glasses they receive only half the visual information that a binocular vision person receives. Half of the film intended by the director is lost. (Of course, there is no 3D effect!) The visual picture remaining is NOT the equivalent of a 2D film which a monocular vision person can observed without distortion, fuzziness, and other problems with the 3D image.” “Thus there is no accommodation for the visually impaired. And in many cases a 2D version of the movie is not immediately available or is not shown in the locality due to marketing considerations. In addition because an extra charge is made for 3D films, persons with sight in only one eye are forced to pay for glasses even though they will not be able to see the film in 3D. (As one theatre manager stated: "How can I tell you only have vision in one eye?) Imagining charging wheel chair bound persons for the use of stairs! All of this discriminates against persons whose vision has been reduced to one good eye.”

Matthew Moore, We the Deaf People


During the silent-movie era, with the widespread use of intertitles, Deaf and hearing moviegoers had equal access. The advent of the "talkies" in 1927 put an end to that equality. Subtitled foreign films were accessible to us-but what about English-language films? The decision of certain nationwide cinema chains to offer open-caption screenings of selected first-run films was greeted with enthusiasm, and Deaf people happily began to patronize multiplexes. Lately, however, there's been a trend towards discontinuing open captions in favor of devices such as electronic captioning goggles. Many of us have tried them and find them annoying and cumbersome. They don't represent equal access.”

Matthew Moore, MSM Productions, Ltd.


Commenter's first language is ASL. Liked it when theaters offered open captions. Tried caption glasses and did not like them. Now not attending cinema. Cation glasses do not offer equal access. Open captions are reliable and comfortable. “Why fix something that isn't broken?” A chain that discontinued open captions in favor of caption glasses ignored the opinions of the culturally deaf people, instead relying on a partnership with the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Jeff O'Neil (Thomas Theatre Group Inc.)


Commenter manages a 10 screen theater. “currently provides 20 audio descriptive devices and 4 closed captioning devices” “on any given night no more than 3 or 4 of our devices are used and often we go days without any usage. This in spite of the fact that there are prominently displayed signs near each of our registers informing patrons that we have such devices. “ “I believe that our theater provides patrons with everything they need regardless of any handicap or impairment. A government mandate requiring our theater and independent theater owners like us to spend unnecessarily on expensive and rarely used equipment would be a hindrance to our business. With 14 years of experience, I believe that I and my colleagues are able to determine what equipment we need and how many units to provide. “

Rebecca Waddell


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Strongly supports the proposed rules. Regulation of analog theaters should be deferred. Provides percentages of different age groups that suffer “disabling hearing loss.” “... analog theaters are a relic of the past.” Because of the decreasing number of analog theaters, the high cost of providing closed captioning for analog theaters, and because most remaining analog theaters are barely profitable small operations, analog theaters should not be required to provide closed captions. Use of the term “closed movie captioning” would help alleviate the fear t\of “having to endure those pesky subtitles at the bottom of every movie screen in America.” Since drive in theaters are another fast disappearing relic of American society, they should be exempt from compliance with this rulemaking.

Emily Buchanan


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Provides extensive reasoning as to why the proposed regulations should not apply to analog theaters.

Nathaniel Gorman


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “Because the costs of compliance and the costs from potential litigation are high for analog owners, the Department should refrain from finalizing a four-year compliance date on analog projection theaters. On the other hand, given that many movie studios are no longer distributing analog movies, the Department will not need to revisit the issue. If all movies are digital, then no rules pertaining to analog movies are needed. Analog movie theaters will die out.” “The addition of a new regulation will be too much for many of these theaters to bear. While the undue burden defense appears to alleviate the cost burden, raising the defense requires legal fees and experienced accountants. The high cost of litigation is still too steep for many of the theaters. “

Karissa Hazzard


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “Currently, the vast majority of theaters who voluntarily choose to include options for closed captioning and audio descriptions for the disabled that need them have been forced into that decision because of discrimination litigation. Because litigation on this issue has been on an individual basis, there is a total lack of consistency as to where and which theaters offer these options. Thus, if you are an individual with hearing or sight disabilities, you only benefit from the litigation if you are lucky enough to be in an area that the litigation actually occurred. “ Supports deferring regulation of analog theaters. Placing a four year compliance deadline on analog theaters will speed the destruction of small movie theaters across the country.

Adam Duggan


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “This comment will make two arguments: 1) the Department has placed too much emphasis on the Harkins case, and 2) Disabled persons do not need regulatory action to fully participate in American culture. This comment will then conclude with the proposition that the marketplace will fully and adequately ensure access to the movies.” The Harkins case was a reversal of a summary judgement. The theater could still prove that closed captioning and audio description fundamentally alter the nature of its services or is an undue burden. The Harkins decision was made in one federal appeals court and has not been followed by any other court. Another court could easily take the opposite position. Further, it was decided in an appeals court that has a higher percentage of Supreme Court reversals than other courts. Compares requiring captioning and audio description to requiring a bookstore to carry books in Braille. Wheelchair ramps provide access to the movie, but do not alter the movie. Audio description and captions alter (or supplement) the movie. Audio description and captions are available on home video, so those needing these features can still participate in movie culture, just a bit later. The best method of improving access is through the marketplace. Compares access to cinema to civil rights movement. States that segregation was due to government action, not actions of market.



Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “The amendment would contain an exception for when captioning and audio description would cause an undue burden or fundamental alteration; however, the undue burden would not relieve the theater from providing the auxiliary aid or service, but rather would require it to provide an alternative auxiliary aid or service.” “ It seems evident that movie theaters that do not take steps to help those with vision disabilities to “see” the movie and those with hearing disabilities to “hear” the movies, do not adequately accommodate movie patrons with these disabilities. Therefore, these proposed regulations requiring both captioning that will enable those with hearing disabilities to “hear,” and audio descriptions enabling those with vision disabilities to “see,” will be an invaluable step towards providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities.” The proposed allowance to use open captions on request instead of closed captions provides a low cost method for theaters to comply with the proposed regulations. The regulations should define a “timely request” for open captions. Proposes a requirement that a request for open captions received one day or more before the showing be honored (unless closed captions are available). Allows theater to notify others of the open caption showing and allows those who do not wish to see open captions to choose another show. The proposed rules allow for different technologies to deliver closed captions and audio description provided the result is “as effective” for those with disabilities as what those without disabilities experience. However, any closed captions are not as effective communications as what one without a disability receives. Proposes that the new rules allow the use of any technology that is as effective as closed captioning or audio description. The regulations should define the “timely manner” of making closed caption or audio description equipment available. “Properly maintained” should be defined to include sanitizing glasses. The proposed regulations do not provide any required seating provisions. This is good in that theaters may wish to place users of closed caption receivers with bright screens in the back row to avoid distraction of other patrons. Proposes that the regulations require the text size be adjustable.

Andrew Bateman


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Provision of closed captioning and audio description will increase movie attendance and the related snack sales. Two large chains have voluntarily implemented closed captioning and audio description. They would not have done this voluntarily if it were financially untenable. Regulation of analog screens should be deferred.

Christina Moradian


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “Unfortunately, in an effort to protect small business owners, the proposal to defer commencement derogates the spirit behind the regulation itself. By not subjecting all movie theaters to a similar standard for making the accommodations, individuals who are hearing and vision impaired will continue to suffer from unequal treatment by analog theaters. Unfortunately, in an effort to protect small business owners, the proposal to defer commencement derogates the spirit behind the regulation itself. By not subjecting all movie theaters to a similar standard for making the accommodations, individuals who are hearing and vision impaired will continue to suffer from unequal treatment by analog theaters.” “a cost-benefit analysis is unnecessary to determine whether a proposed action that would end benefit a protected class outweighs the cost to small businesses. You cannot monetize equality. Furthermore, a cost-benefit analysis would reveal that the imminent extinction of theaters with analog movie screens along with the procedural safeguards afforded by the undue burden standard diminishes the need for an extended commencement date for analog movie theaters. Analog theaters should not be afforded any more protections at the expense of individuals’ rights which are protected under the law.” When intent is clear, deference should be given to the unambiguous intent of Congress. “Here, the language of the statute unambiguously mandates that movie theaters provide effective communication. The Federal Register reveals that those who are hearing and vision impaired are dependent upon auxiliary aids and services to understand and enjoy analog and digital movie screens. The proposed regulations would require movie theaters to have the capacity to exhibit movies with closed captions. The Federal Register states that movie theaters already have an obligation to provide effective communication to persons with disabilities 100 percent of the time; therefore, closed captioning must be available in no less than 100 percent of the movie theaters that exhibit movies. The intent of Title III is clear on providing auxiliary aids to individuals who are hearing and vision impaired. Closed captioning is not a luxury but a necessity and is currently the best form of providing effective communication in movie theaters to those with vision and hearing impairments.” While restaurants are not required to provide Braille menus if they otherwise accommodate the blind, such as by reading the menu to the patron, “there is no viable alternative to closed captioning for movie theaters.” “Because closed captioning is the best auxiliary aid available, it is necessary for movie theaters to have them. There is no room for flexibility within the movie theater industry because technology has not provided an effective alternative that is comparable to the closed captioning system. Flexibility implies that an alternative exists which would be equal to or comparable to an available accommodation.” If an auxiliary aid presents an undue burden or fundamentally alters the nature of the goods or services, the theater must “furnish another auxiliary aid, if available, that does not result in a fundamental alteration or an undue burden.” “The undue burden exception does not relieve a public accommodation from their ultimate duty of providing effective communication via auxiliary aids, but rather, does not require that a public accommodation employ any one specific auxiliary aid if that aid would be unduly burdensome.” “The statute, however, does not provide any language or direction regarding the speed of implementation of an auxiliary aid or the date of commencement. Specifically, there is no language regarding any undue burden that a quick and expeditious commencement date may cause. A closed caption system, once deemed not an undue burden for a theater to provide, should be implemented as soon as possible to remedy the discrimination against persons with disabilities. Once an auxiliary aid is declared not unduly burdensome for a theater, any debate surrounding the commencement date of the aid should cease. The interest of not further discriminating against individuals with disabilities outweighs any cost to a movie theater to expeditiously make accommodations.” Regarding the possibility of deferring regulation of analog theaters, “When dealing with the rights of a protected class, it is crucial that rules that protect their rights be executed quickly so discrimination is terminated immediately. A decision to delay rule-making regarding a protected class’s rights is contrary to the intent of Title III of the ADA; to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” Compares the implementation speed with the “all deliberate speed” requirement of Brown v. Board of Education. Putting a different implementation deadline on analog and digital screens may encourage analog theaters to not convert to digital to avoid the cost of complying with the proposed regulations. “In conclusion, securing the equal treatment, fairness, and human dignity of those that are most vulnerable in our society is a governmental interest that benefits the country as a whole.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “Implementation of the proposed rule will create an undue burden on owners that operate analog movie theaters, hastening the rate at which those theaters go out of business. It is for this reason that the proposed option two deferring compliance of analog theaters to a later date is the better of the two options.“ For analog screens, “There is currently on one option to meet the proposed rule’s requirements for analog screens.1 Additionally, due to the fact that most screens are switching over to digital projection, there is not likely to be development of any new technology in the future.” Requiring analog theaters to implement the regulations would divert funds that could be used to convert to digital. “The cost / benefit analysis offered by the Department is also lacking. The department states that the benefit of implementing the proposed rule is difficult to quantify because it “has not been able to locate robust data on the rate at which persons with disabilities currently go to movies shown in theaters” or whether that number will increase if the proposed rule is implemented.” “With no concrete numbers to show that there would be any significant increase in the number of visually or hearing impaired patrons to movie theaters if the proposed rule is implemented, a cost that may run a significant number of small movie theaters out of business is simply too high.” The “undue burden” defense is of limited value since it is a burden to demonstrate that something is an undue burden.

Amber White


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Proposes: “1) A one-year compliance deadline for the movie theater industry to purchase, install, properly train employs, and utilize the technology required; and 2) The Department should exempt analog screens from any regulation because of the small number of films produced in that format and the uncertainty of the future of the medium; and 3) Theaters should be able to base their equipment needs on data collected by the theater, not on the number of seats.” Suggests that theaters use the first six months of the implementation schedule to determine equipment requirements, including quantities based upon requests for closed captioning and audio description. Mentions possible use of cell phones for closed captioning. A mandated closed caption device requirement could be obsolete by the time the rule is published. A large segment of the population does not go to movie theaters because it is not affordable. This segment, along with those with disabilities, can enjoy movies with captioning when the movie is later released on DVD.

Adam Harness


Supports proposed regulations. Device minimums are too low. Minimums should be based on number of seats, but “the amount of people who will use these devices will increase dramatically as news of this new rule spreads through the public sphere.” Proposes requiring devices for 4% of seats, independent of the size of the theater. Proposes allowing the use of smart phones as captioning or descriptive audio devices. Analog theaters should be subject to the rules, though film is being phased out. If smartphones were used, theaters would only have to supply glasses or headphones.

Megan Duthie


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Regulation of analog theaters should be deferred. Should an analog theater purchase closed captioning equipment, it would likely have to spend an additional sum when converted to digital. Film closed captioning may require license fees. Proving that compliance would be an undue burden is costly. Since a large portion of theaters have converted to digital, a large portion of the deaf population will be served by closed captioning in digital theaters.

Harold Hallikainen, Ultra Stereo Labs, Inc.


Commenter designed the USL captioning system and maintains this web page. Answers specific questions and provides further comments on specific questions asked in the NPRM. Future availability of film prints is likely to be low. The definition of a movie theater that excludes drive in theaters appears appropriate. However, descriptive audio would not be costly for drive ins, and captioning may be possible using Wi Fi. The terms “Audio Description,” “Closed Movie Captioning,” and “Open Movie Captioning” are appropriate. Film theaters should not be required to provide captions or audio description. A one year implementation schedule should be provided instead of the proposed six month schedule. Though open captions are a suitable alternative to closed captions (and appear preferred by those who use them), they are not likely to be accepted by the general public. The number of captioning devices required should be based on demonstrated need instead of a seat count. Discusses “bring your own receiver” possibilities. Closed caption device specifications lack clarity and are difficult to apply to glasses and other devices with optics. The number of descriptive audio devices appears reasonable. Since not all movies are available with captions, notice to the public of captioning availability should be required. This should be a minimal cost to exhibitors.

Trina Hughes


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Regulation of analog theaters should be deferred. Theaters with seven or fewer screens should have two years to comply. After the proposed four year deadline for analog screens, there is likely to be no content created on film that includes closed captions. Equipping a theater to show captions that do not exist would not benefit the public. Analog theaters that later convert to digital may have to pay twice for captioning technology.

Anonymous Anonymous


Regulation of analog screens should be deferred. Analog screens that are equipped to show closed captions may have no movies to show that include closed captions. Though several methods of providing closed captions exist for digital theaters, only one system exists for analog theaters. The number of captioning devices should be based on anticipated need, not seat count. Drive in theaters should be excluded from regulation.

Emily Buchanan


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. Regulation of analog screens should be deferred. The Department should “wait and see” how viable analog theaters will be in a few years. It would be a waste of the Department's resources to enforce rules on something that may be quickly antiquated. Should the Department find analog theaters thrive in a few years, they can be regulated at that time. Requiring analog theaters to implement captioning will likely result in undue burden claims, which are costly for both the theaters and the Department.

Lauren Reed


Supports proposed rules. Title III of the ADA requires these rules. These rules will increase revenue for theaters. The rules will give equal rights to those with hearing or vision impairment. Subtitles are very inexpensive to implement.

Kent Francis


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law. “This proposed rulemaking should be wholly rejected because the Department of Justice should not force such significant changes on private enterprise when the benefit of the rule is unknown and the regulation would burden businesses that create a "quintessential American experience."” “The proposed regulation is too speculative. The Depaiiment does not address the burden placed on movie theater owners and cannot quantify the magnitude ofthe benefits. In a noble attempt to make a strong stance in support of individuals with disabilities, the Department has reached too far and is proposing an aggressive solution while remaining blind to the benefits of the policy.” “Instead of determining the burden that the regulation will have on theaters, the Department is telling movie theater owners to make these changes and go through the litigation process ifthe changes are oppressive.” “The Department cannot quantify the benefit that the proposed rulemaking will have on society. The notice states that the benefits ofthe rule are difficult to quantify and that there is no data showing the rate at which disabled people go to movies. The Department does not know how many disabled people currently have access to closed captioning and audio description. The Department is unaware of any studies that show the societal benefit ofthe regulation.” “The Department plans to create this regulation then cross its fingers and hope that it actually helps people.”

Sara Ohlman


Comment: 5-10 pages max. Discuss something that interests you. Make policy argument as to what you think is right. Form: One a letter, another like a legal filing. He prefers the legal filing. Footnoting: Is this something the person reading it will not know and will want to more? If yes, drop it, otherwise no. Grading: Make a clear argument, well-written, typo-free, dassit.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter was born deaf and supports proposed rules. Theaters in the area have gradually added closed captions. This allows the commenter to participate in the movie-going experience. Rules need to address the number of working devices. Has found broken devices or devices that did not work in a particular auditorium or captions would drop out during the movie and return later. “My friends and I have acute anxiety now, because more often than not, something goes wrong. I've missed many beginnings because I had to go back to customer service to get a different device. Sometimes the device is fine but the feed isn't, leaving out huge gaps of dialogue. “

Jacqueline Busa


I really appreciate the closed captioning glasses that Regal Cinema provides (we are in Charlottesville, VA). Being able to read the dialogue makes all the difference for my 14 year old son's enjoyment of the meaning and details in movies. He has two cochlear implants and hearing movie (or TV) dialogue is generally not clear to him. Would like to see this progress everywhere for all people who need this.”

Juliet Goodfriend, Bryn Mawr Film Institute


Fully 50% of gross ticket revenues earned by a theater are paid back to the studio. So measuring by grosses is meaningless.” “At least 70% and as much as 90% of a movie theaters business is done on Fri, Sat, and Sunday, so the total number of seats per screen and average occupancy across a week are meaningless measures for our purposes today. The closest measure to use in projecting anticipated need would be the average attendance per show on weekend evenings.” “Assigning different requirements for non-profit and for-profit theaters is inappropriate. The functional difference is the difference in size and revenue base. The non-profit status will not make a difference in the ability to comply with these regulations. Only the amount of revenue each theater can generate, or the number of seats they actually fill on a busy night, only those numbers matter, in fact.” “It cost my four-screen theater over $10,000 to equip EACH of our 4 theaters with hearing assist and closed captioning devices. One needs to acquire transmitters and receivers. And why has not the Loop been addressed? We have more requests for that than for the cc devices. To install the Loop in 3 of our 4 theaters will cost an additional $30,000. “ “We will provide statistically valid device demand and availability numbers in a few weeks based on the results of two surveys of the independent, art house movie theater market. These are the theaters with the oldest clientele and the highest potential demand for devices. In the meantime, for our theaters with 50 % over 65 years of age, we have never had requests for more than 4 listening devices or 3 closed caption devices at any one time from 858 patrons at a time. “ “Require the industry to incorporate CC and VD on all movies, or at least all digital movies, including BluRay/DVD. Require theaters to broadcast the various ADA signals (HI, VI-N, CC), and regulate which signals/frequencies will be protected for ADA (right now you can install a system that does not work because of its frequency). What about the Loop? Base any required number of units on the actual size of the business, i.e. the attendance on Friday and Saturday night, not the number of seats or the number of screens
State the required number of devices clearlyone number, not fractions. Provide a longer compliance period, i.e. 2-4 years, not 6 months, even for digital theaters. Combine all devices under one set of rules (Hearing Assistance, CC, and VD) and include The Loop in the regs.”

Travis DuBord, Thomas Theatre Group


Commenter manages an 8 screen theater. All patrons should be able to enjoy movies they provide, but number of devices required in the proposal is excessive and unreasonable. In 15 years, they have never had all the assistive listening devices in use at once. They can go weeks without one being requested. Digital conversion and minimum wage increase have greatly impacted budgets. Intend to provide closed captioning and descriptive audio without a government mandate.

Michael Schwartz


Commenter is deaf. “These two technologies do not provide equal and effective access to movies for people who need captions. Instead the rule should require all movie theaters, large and small, to enable the showing of films with open captions.” Has experienced both caption glasses and Rear Window. Communicating with theater staff to get caption glasses is difficult and time consuming. Glasses are heavy. Captions move with head instead of staying at one location on screen. Can't carry glasses, connected box, popcorn, and drink. Rear Window captioning is also not enjoyable. As with glasses, advertises that the individual is deaf. Getting captions aligned with screen is difficult to impossible. Swiveling head between screen and captions is tiring. Compares general public possible objection of open captions to “heckler's veto.” Children are growing up with open captions on television. Objections to open captions will fade with time.

William Anonymous


I am both concerned for the actual necessity for the proposed rule and for the reason why the government would even enter into something as simplistic and market self-regulating a movie screenings. While it is within reason to believe the architect of this proposal means well, I can see virtually no benefit to anyone from its imposition; I can, however, see headaches and profit losses for theaters in it, which I presume is not part of the actual goal of the Department of Justice.” “Discrimination requires a purposeful act of selective favorability or condemnation; a deaf person has not been discriminated against by a movie screening that has no captioning any more than someone without a tongue has been discriminated against by the newest flavor of Starbucks cappuccino.“ “Please do not add more government regulation where it is not needed, as it will do what excess regulation always does: cost private people money and headaches with little to no benefit for virtually anyone.”

Brianne Small


A smart movie theatre will realize that there is a huge underutilized market of hearing and visually impaired viewers who can be accessed through providing new technological accommodations. There are millions of Americans who currently avoid the movies, because they cannot take an impaired loved one or friend. There are millions of Americans who have an impairment and avoid the movies, because their experience would be diminished due to their disability. It seems like nothing short of a huge opportunity for the theatres to show their commitment to their product and commitment to the consumers through embracing the technology that is now available for impaired viewers. “

Allen Strahl, Northgate Cinema Inc.


Commenter owns a 9 screen theater. Borrowed $500,000 3 years ago to convert to digital. Faces high maintenance costs. Has tracked use of hearing impaired equipment. Typical use is one per week with a maximum of 3 at one time. Cost of a closed captioning device is $453, and under proposed rules, they would be required to have 23 devices. “With all the additional costs weve incurred to convert to digital, and upkeep on the theater, it makes no sense to spend money on devices that will not be used.” “I think theater owners have better judgement on how many devices we need based on our proven level of usage. I feel that the proposed requirement for the number of devices is excessive. If more people in need of assistive devices come to our theater, it would make sense to purchase enough devices to serve them. I have, and will continue to, meet the needs of our customers.”

Dan Wyatt


Commeter owns an historic single screen theater. Supports proposed rules as a “step in the right direction in giving sound and sight impeded citizens equal rights when it comes to enjoying filmed entertainment.” Explains financial limitations of his theater due to clearing practices of large chain theaters.

Charles Al-Bawi


Commenter is a law student at University of Tennessee College of Law and opposes proposed rules. Proposed rules are unnecessary regulation of movie theaters. Three of the four major companies have already committed to obtaining the required technology. The technology is still developing. Allowing theaters to wait will allow them to acquire the technology at lower cost. Studios are not required to provide captions or descriptive audio. Captions and descriptive audio will fundamentally alter the moviegoers experience. The required devices will not provide a “full and equal enjoyment” of movies. The definition of a movie theater (“a facility other than a drive-in theater that is used primarily for the purpose of showing movies to the public for a fee”) may invite lawsuits. Since, for many theaters, the majority of the net income comes from concession sales, not ticket sales, is the purpose “primarily” for showing movies or for selling concessions? Questions why this is limited to movie theaters and does not include museums, stadiums, etc. Personal caption devices will prove inadequate. The size of the display will affect the size of the text. The size of the text will affect how many words fit on the display. The limited number of words will limit how well the user keeps up with the movie. The captions do not capture the crowd reaction, an integral part of the movie experience. The captions cannot capture the musical score (other than the words). Text will not capture inflection, accent, etc. of dialog. Personal caption devices will distract the user from the movie screen. Captions on the screen or a designated seating area is the only way to ensure users can see both the movie screen and captions. These shortcomings may result in future litigation unless a specific blueprint is used to describe the device. Even then, devices will be ineffective for some. Audio description is ineffective since there is not time between dialog segments to adequately describe the image. The user will be hearing two separate sets of sound (the movie and the description). An application driving Bluetooth would not solve these issues. The proposed rules put a heavy cost on theaters in the hopes that studios will also act. While studios have expressed a commitment to include captions and audio description, theaters have also expressed a commitement to make these available to their patrons. The proposed rule will benefit the few equipment producers at the expense of the theaters. This rule will ultimately push smaller theaters out of business. As an alternative, people can check web sites to find theaters showing captioned movies, call theatrs and request open captions, be patient and wait for captioned DVD, etc. Since most movies are based on books, the story is also available in that medium. Lobbying groups can convince theaters to provide these services without a government mandate.

Eric Bridges, American Council of the Blind


There is no legitimate reason why a person with a disability must also be culturally disadvantaged. The creator of any work to be publicly accessible must consider how his/her work is enhanced by universal access, the use of captions and audio description, or other enabling techniques. An architect who designs a building may not view the installation of ramps or lifts as part of his/her vision. And yet how inappropriate would it be for the museum housed in that building to ask that visitors who use wheelchairs to “bring your own ramp” if you want to venture inside!” Supports use of term “audio description” since it is already widely used. Supports proposal that 100% of screens provide audio description within 6 months. Supports proposal for analog theaters to provide audio description after four years. These theaters are likely to convert to digital, but, if they don't, it is important that visually impaired have audio description at every theater. Proposes that DVDs be required to have audio description and audio menus. Because visually impaired may attend movie in groups, proposes theaters be required to have 8 audio description devices or 2 per screen, whichever is greater. “ We believe that the Department should set a minimum of one-half percent of the marketing budget that theater chains and theaters should be required to spend to advertise and promote the availability of captioning and audio description. Unless theaters are mandated to market these accessibility services, the growth in their use will be extremely slow.” Availability of audio description must be widely circulated. “Finally, we believe that every theater should be required to announce at the start of every performance that the movie that is about to be shown has captions and audio description available. This will allow all of those present at the theater to know that these options exist and are free to patrons who can benefit from their use. This could be an announcement on screen similar to the “turn off cell phones” message at the beginning of all movie showings.” “Further, it would also be very useful if the announcement about audio description and captioning showed before the movie starts, actually included a little audio description so the blind or visually impaired person could know that their receiver is working correctly. Presently, there is no audio description until the movie actually starts – none of the trailers at the beginning have description. If your unit is not working correctly, it’s a bit late to do much about it without missing the beginning of the film.” Staff training is important. Sometimes a patron desiring audio description is given a receiver set to receive hearing impaired audio. “Perhaps the most important need addressed by audio description in movie theaters is the ability to bring children and adults who are blind or have low vision into the mainstream of society. The inability of anyone, adult or child, to participate fully in popular culture - which has a unique power to bind us together - effectively alienates individuals who are blind or visually impaired from his/her community.”

Ryan Brooks, Invisivision


My company was recently approached by WAD (Wisconsin Association of the Deaf) with excitement as the prospect of our new patent-pending, innovative eyewear would solve many of the issues currently faced by movie patrons who are hard-of-hearing or deaf. The best part about our solution is that hearing patrons can easily remove the open captions using the exact same device which is inexpensive, lightweight and can also deliver a brand new type of entertainment. Oh - and it can also function as 3D eyewear.”

Esther Baruh, A.G. Bell, ALDA, HLAA, NAD, and NATO


The comments represent a consensus of these five groups. Supports proposal that all digital screens have closed captioning. Instead of a fixed number of closed captioning devices, proposes theaters have 150% of the average weekend demand for closed captioning devices. Theaters would be required to adjust the number of devices biannually based on the above calculated demand. Also provides a minimum number of units ranging from 4 units for a single screen and 12 units for 16 or more screens. Proposes that all theaters submit biannual reports on device demand to the Department of Justice. Proposes that theaters be required to issue purchase orders for purchase of closed captioning equipment within six months of the final rule publication. Equipment must be installed within six months of its delivery or within two years of the final rule publication, whichever occurs first. Theaters would be required to identify which movies have closed captions or descriptive audio at the box office and theater publications such as web sites. These will include accepted sybols for each along with a description of how they work. Theaters will have printed information about the closed captioning system the theater offers. Theater owners are encouraged to reach out to groups that can make use of these devices. NATO will encourage technology companies to meet with disability groups and will provide the DOJ with a list of interested parties available for consultation by technology companies. Devices will be available, clean, and functional when requested by a patron. Functional means that device operates consistent with the manufacturer's design. Theater owners will develop appropriate staff training programs and equipment maintenance procedures. Theater operators will have a knowledgable staff member on site at all times to assist patrons. NATO will encourage all movie distributors to include audio description and captioning on all movies and trailers. NATO will encourage distributors to advise theaters of the availability of audio description and captions at least seven days before the release date. NATO will encourage distributors to use CC and AD symbols in marketing of movies. NATO will contact equipment suppliers to get simple how-to instructions for patrons and theater staff. NATO will disseminate device information to advocacy groups. NATO will request advocacy groups provide locations of schools for the deaf and hard of hearing and other high concentrations of the deaf and hard of hearing. NATO will provide this information to theaters within 25 miles of these locations. NATO will endeavor to periodically include advocacy groups in NATO technology committee webinars and the NATO annual meeting, where appropriate. Theater owners are encouraged to outreach to advocacy groups. Theater operators are encouraged to accomodate large group requests for open or closed captions subject to sufficient notice and sufficient number of patrons. Theater operators requesting contact information before providing closed caption or descriptive audio devices are encouraged to make efforts to get contact information without holding official identification as collateral. Theater operators are encouraged to use loyalty cards in connection with requests for use of these devices. Advocacy groups will inform their members about the availability of closed captioning and how those systems operate. Advocacy groups will also inform their members about how to get information on open caption shows. Advocacy groups will work with NATO to encourage distributors to include captioning and audio description. Advocacy groups will work with NATO in encouraging members of Congress to support this joint position on motion picture theater captioning.

Matthew Moore, We the Deaf People


Open-captioned (OC) movies did the best job of giving equal access to Deaf moviegoers. Closed-captioning (CC) systems that require use of devices, such as caption-decoding goggles, do not achieve this. Caption-decoding devices, such as goggles, are cumbersome and annoying, and interfere with our right to equal access and enjoyment. OC has worked well for the Deaf community. If it ain't broke, it don't need fixing! We do NOT want to wear or use any devices that interfere with our enjoyment of movies. We want the DOJ to reconsider its stance on OC as a top priority, not an out-of-date one. OC benefits the entire population of Deaf people. CC devices benefit some.”

Linda Levitan, We the Deaf People


As a Deaf person who replies on captioning, I much prefer open-captions (OC) to closed-caption (CC) systems that require electronic devices.” Describes experience with non-operational closed captioning system.

Anonymous Anonymous


I want to put open captions (OC) on the top of the list for Deaf moviegoers. I do not want us to be separated from hearing moviegoers by closed-captioning (CC) systems that require use of devices, such as caption-decoding goggles. I found caption-decoding goggles cumbersome and annoying. I feel that my basic right to equal access and enjoyment is taken away when you don't include OC as a major option. OC has worked well for us. Since it wasn't broken, it didn't need fixing. I do NOT want to wear or use any devices that interfere with my enjoyment of the movie. Please hear us out. We want the DOJ to put OC as a top priority, not an obsolete practice. OC benefits the diverse population of Deaf people. CC devices don't.”

Mark O'Meara


Commenter owns two theaters totaling 9 screens. 100% of screens should offer closed captioning and audio description. In the three screen theater, there were a total of three requests for closed captioning in the past year. At the six screen theater, they get many requests for assistive listening, but few for closed captions. Closed caption requests are 2 or 3 a week with never more than two at a time. Based on the proposed rules, commenter would have to purchase 34 units. “This is a huge waste of money for equipment we won't use. It will also preclude me from ever wanting to invest in future technology that may serve the deaf and hard of hearing/seeing audience in a better way!!! Also, having only 6 months to comply is also a huge burden, plus, the manufacturers have told my tech vendor, they won't be able to keep up with the demand.” “My suggestion is to work out a number of units per screen, not per number of seats. Then, request us to monitor usage over a period of time to see if we need more units.” “Also, give us a bit more time to meet the requirements. Maybe do it in stages, requiring a minimum number of units in 6 months and allow us to add more over the next few months/years.
We will endeavor to promote our facility being compliant and reach out to area organizations that will use our devices. We also will keep our showtime listings displaying the films that are closed caption and audio description enabled.”

Clarence Carter


Theaters need to make information regarding the availability of descriptive audio available. Also, sometimes the equipment is not in good condition.

Barbara Twist


Commenter works at a theater and an organization of independent theaters. Theaters have just spent a substantial amount of money converting to digital. Theaters making less than $500,000 annually should be exempt from the proposed rules. Theaters who make up to $4M annually should have four years to comply. The number of units should be based on average weekly attendance instead of seat count.

Linda Taylor


Off-screen captioning devices do not give Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals equal access. Any hearing person can go to the movie of their choice at any time. Hearing people do not have to ask for permission to use uncomfortable and unreliable devices just to understand the movie, nor do they have to show ID.“ Analog screens can use a caption projector to show on-screen captions. Digital screens can “push a button.” “Off-screen devices, such as captioning glasses identify people with disabilities, which is inappropriate and unequal.” Those wearing vision correcting glasses would end up wearing three pairs of glasses to see captions and a 3D movie. “Going to the movies is a traditional activity one does on a date. Having to utilize off-screen captioning devices is awkward and unfair. “

Annie Campbell


Yes! I support accessible movie theaters.”

Nate Baldo


Duplicate of comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Ann Kaplow


Duplicate of comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Roger Strickland


Duplicate of comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Sheila Middlebrook


Please support this proposed rule!”

Marsha Sweet


Please pass the open captioning for movies this will greatly help indiviudals who are deaf or who are like myself losing their hearing as they get older.”

Kathy Johnson


Being deaf is difficult enough, giving them equal access to open captioned movies is simple and does no harm anyone. These are basic human rights we are talking about. Having a disability is hard enough without burdening people who simply want to enjoy a movie like everyone else. Open captions benefit all of us because there are many times when we either can't hear the dialog or don't understand, so open captioning will make everyone's movie more enjoyable.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Open-captioned movies should be available by request for every movie at all times. “ Remainder of comment duplicates comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Rebecca Payton


Stronger rules are needed to support open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when anyone requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers. On-screen captioning provides us with a truly integrated movie theater so that everyone can have the same positive experiences. “

Marnie Fougere


It is often times the current ways of access does not work for all because of technical issues or comfort issues. It not only for those with disabilities to have access but an average hearing person can benefit from captions when the movie audio is not clear enough. Also those who are hard of hearing would benefit if they are not comfortable asking for the equipment for access.” “And if all the movies were open captioned and have audio descriptions then it will give person or people any time to watch the movie instead of specific times as it is now., So the Technicology has advance enough over the years to make it easier to make open captions for Movies. So please support this“

Dean DeRusso


I want to share 4 strong points to say that Open Caption (OC) should be given stronger support to give Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals the true experiences of equal enjoyment of theater movies. OC gives everyone the same experiences of going to movies. CC movies give separate experiences. This is not a fair decision to separate the experiences of deaf and hearing viewers. If one deaf person visits someone's house, the people will turn on the CC. The theaters need to give integration experiences of all viewers to prevent discrimination toward Deaf and Hard of Hearing viewers.” Remainder of comment duplicates comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Mildred Brown


Please consider this in movie theaters”

Speed Davis


Currently, when I attend a movie with blind friends, we have to find seating in a remote section of the theater, away from other patrons. I whisper or use a low level voice to provide my friends a description of the visual aspects of the movie. I constantly have to determine which actions or elements of the scene on the screen will best enable my friend to maximize their enjoyment of the movie. Fast action scenes or rapid shifts from scene to scene are particularly had to adequately convey the progression of the movie. While I am happy to provide this service for my friends, the audio description equipment will make my viewing experience more enjoyable. “

Jane Long


Please consider this: If a Deaf or Hard of Hearing individual requests open captions at a theater (for which the individual probably paid $9.00 or more!) the theater must provide equal access by including the captions as a legal accommodation.” On-screen captions should always be available without having to request them. Commenter currently must wait months for DVD with captions to see movie. “The complaint that hearing people have about the distraction of captions is almost the same as people who complain about ramps being put in place for people who use wheelchairs. Get over it! Use the the captions. If the ramps are always there, and if the captions are always there...then those who do not need them can adjust and will eventually not even notice they are there. “ “I sincerely hope in my lifetime, I will see my Deaf granddaughter find the world more accommodating for her and for me. Let's see the Department of Justice act as though they have loved ones in their families who are Deaf that would appreciate seeing AND understanding movies in a theater just like everyone else!”

Anonymous Anonymous


This is a no brainer - Its The Law!”



Off-Screen Captioing is Separate and Unequal” “We are urging everyone to call for rules supporting open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when a Deaf or hard of hearing individual requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers.” Remainder of comment very similar to comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Ann Stillman


I am writing to strongly support Open Captioned Movies. I work for a small, statewide non-profit organization supporting Recovery Learning Community Centers all across Massachusetts. We are called The Transformation Center. I have colleagues who are deaf and hard of hearing and am so impressed with their powerful contribution to members of our community who are deaf. They have become such a valuable part of my daily work and social life and I want their lives to be enriched as they have made mine. I would also add that at 74 years, my husband and I are now using captioning on our TV to better hear dialogue during the films we watch. I want the same opportunities, for myself and my young colleagues that we enjoy at home, in the movie theaters.“

Hershel Jackson


Commenter is deaf and an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Proposes open captions be required on all screens at all times. Has tried caption glasses and found them unsuitable since he already wears glasses.

Shirley Hampton


We have used the captioning glasses provided by the movie theatre. They are unsanitary and uncomfortable to use. We wear vision-correcting glasses so we have to use a second set. They are heavy and do not fit properly. Rear view captioning force us to look down and up, missing some scenes. We prefer open-captioned movies like we do have for televisions. They don't cost the movie places much.”

Kristy Anonymous


The ADA remains a very important law that protects the rights of people for equality and accessibility. Off-screen captioning still doesn't make deaf and hard of hearing people equal with hearing people for a simple reason--they still are burdened with providing proof of need and to go obtain the equipment and set it up themselves. The equipment also does not decrease the cost of providing accessibility for the movie theaters. The mode should be open captions, and the captions should be included with all formats of media (i.e. DVD, digital files). This, in my opinion, can be easily done at the production level instead of passing on DVDs with no caption files and leaving the burden to the movie theaters to pay for someone to caption the movies for the theaters. Far as I know, a movie could be captioned five times and paid five times by five different theater companies. If I buy a DVD, it usually has captions included. Why not include captions in the media provided to the movie theaters? Pass the ADA and amend it to include mandates for certain accessability features to be made available at the production level.”

Deborah Exum


I feel it is highly important to have Captioning and Audio Description for those of us who have hearing impairments., etc. Movie Theaters under the ADA, all need to have these devices in place. Thank you for your time and work.”

Diane Coleman


Open-captioned movies should be available by request for every movie at all times. Along with your story, feel free to use any of the following talking points:” Comment very similar to comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

James Conner


As a hearing impaired citizen with a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in another, I strongly support open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when anyone requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers. On-screen captioning provides us with a truly integrated movie theater so that everyone can have the same positive experiences.”

Frederick Stark


I was a member of 400 people with disabilities trained by the Department of Justice and the EEOC to understand the ADA in 1993. I have instituted 4 lawsuits against the Chicago Transit Authority and and other stores in Chicago. As an ADA plaintiff, I support the rule to support open captioning. It is time that deaf people be included in an integrated society when viewing a movie in a large gathering.”

Jeff Boles


Csptoned movies must be considered “

Grecia Luke


If audio description were generally available, I would attend movies much more frequently. More importantly, I could go with my sighted friends.”

Diane M. White, We, The Deaf People (WDTP)


Open-captioned (OC) movies did the best job of giving equal access to Deaf moviegoers. Closed-captioning (CC) systems that require use of devices, such as caption-decoding goggles, do not achieve this. Caption-decoding devices, such as goggles, are cumbersome and annoying, and interfere with our right to equal access and enjoyment. OC has worked well for the Deaf community. If it ain't broke, it don't need fixing! We do NOT want to wear or use any devices that interfere with our enjoyment of movies. We want the DOJ to reconsider its stance on OC as a top priority, not an out-of-date one. OC benefits the entire population of Deaf people. CC devices benefit some.”

Marsha Farrow


Commenter describes difficulty getting audio description, benerally receiving hearing impaired or closed captions.

Jim Oyer


Describes experience with audio description. It is integrated well into the movie so it does not interfere with dialog. However, movies are played too loud, drowning out audio description headphones. Also, cable companies are not transmitting audio description because people accidentally turn it on, then complain to cable company.

Charles Crawford


I have read and agree with those comments you have already received from the American Council of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind, and I ask that you heed their advice and move to fully implement the regulations you have proposed.” Describes poor experience with AD in theaters (bad batteries, equipment not working, wrong audio stream, untrained staff).

James VanWinkle


We can do things in Spanish but we still can't help our own people who are hearing and sight impaired. This is wrong and will always be wrong. Some have fought for our freedom and when they come home they can't go to places where everyone else can go but it is fine for them to give their life for all to be free. Not right to discriminate our family!”

Paul Levenson


Duplicate of comments of Diane M. White at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0295

Anonymous Anonymous


Duplicate of comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Phil Konigsberg


As an advocate for persons with a disability, and physically disabled myself, this proposed rule that the DOJ should implement was an eye opener for me. Not being hearing impaired, I was oblivious to the predicament that those are face when desiring to go to the cinema. This is just another in the long line of issues that the disabled face on an everyday basis. We can change this in a positive way and open up the movie industry to a virtually untapped market. Please make a comment supporting movie theaters having on screen captioning on request.”

Alex Stavis


I request you require open captioning on all films. Thank you very much in advance for heeding my requsnts.”

Kim Grievson, We, the deaf people!


Duplicate of comment DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0264

anonymous anonymous


I'm here to complaint that I want a OC for all theatre because we have a right just like a hearing people thy can hear and enjoy the movie same time but where ours ? I would enjoying watching the theatre more often if include OC. We should get the same equal as heparing people . I even want go with my kids and enjoy with them when we go theatre and etc. Please providenOC ! I will be more happier and I'm sure there of lot of deaf people will enjoying and understand clear what the movienis about and can go more often just like hearing people ! Just same the TV at home have cc but for theatre should haveaa OC too ! Please OC and than cc because some people have glasses and can't wear glasses of cc uncomfortable and there is so many reason to not enjoying and OC is much easier and you just do is eat popcorn and soda etc than missing words or whatever and OC is very good practice for people who need learn English better and etc etc I can type more words of good reason why should have OC ! Please provide !”

John Keevert


Largely duplicates comments of Rebecca Payton at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0277

Deidre Hammon


Open caption for movies is the best proposal!”

Donna Kallenberger


Duplicate of DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0264

Carolyn Bartlow


Public access is only there when we don't have to ask permission to do what are peers can experience just by being there, Movie captioning without cumbersome captioning is true access even if it is a mild challenge for the owners.”

jennifer steele


I prefer to watch open caption. “

Laurie Anonymous


Very similar to comment of Matthew Moore, We the Deaf People at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0227

Kathy Ballard


I want go back to OC which is more comfortable with reading and relax my neck and eyes, too.”

Charles Smyth


On screen captioning should be required when requested and I wouldn't mind having it on all the time. “

Alan Kutner, Hearing Loss Of America-Pennsylvania State Office


Expresses support for the joint proposal of four major hearing disability groups and NATO at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0261 .

Joyce Tesar


Accessibility matters!”

Rita Straubhaar


I don't go to the movie theatre in large part because CC technology is not comfortable and not easy to use. So, I am sure there are many other deaf and hard of hearing patrons that feel the same way. I would be much more comfortable going if there was OC films. So, the movie theatres and movie production companies are making a big mistake because there is a large market that they are discriminating against.”

Susan Ruff


Similar to comments of Rebecca Payton ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0277 ) and James Connor ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0291 ). Advocates open captions. Closed caption users must present an ID and get unreliable uncomfortable caption glasses. “Most Deaf and hard of hearing individuals prefer on-screen captioning. Furthermore, one survey shows that many hearing people do not mind captioning, some even prefer captioning! On-screen open captioning should be a priority of rule-making discussions. “ “Analog movie screens should be using Digital Captioning Projectors (DCP) to display captions on their screens. Digital movie screens already have a built-in device that will display captioning by simply pushing a button. The cost for DCP is the same as buying one off-screen captioning device. At the same time, having captions on digital movie screens is free.” “Currently, the DOJ is not even considering on-screen captioning. I want to see stronger rules that support open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when anyone requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers. On-screen captioning provides us with a truly integrated movie theater so that everyone can have the same positive experiences.”

Alan Kutner


Supports proposal of NATO and disability groups ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0261 ). “I am, however, disappointed in the inadequate marketing requirements they and the DOJ propose. Many deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are not members of these organizations will rarely learn about the opportunity to go to the movies once again and be able to hear the dialogue.” DOJ should “require that each movie theater have a demonstration device in the lobby of its theater so that everyone can see, feel and understand the use and availability of these devices. And that they are free of charge, and easy to utilize.” “A 30 to 60 second movie trailer is also important at a minimum for the first 90 days when any theater begins to use its captioning devices.” “Advertisements on television and radio as to the availability of these devices should also be required. Without this, the word will not get out to those people who are most seriously denied equal access to movies because of their disability and they will stay away, not realizing a wonderful opportunity awaits them if they were only informed.“

Jake Tower


All movies should have the option of closed captions in theaters to allow millions of Americans to enjoy the same social benefit as others. Proposes tax breaks for smaller theaters to pay costs of complying or apply rule only to large chains.

Samantha Anonymous


I use subtitles and captioning in my regular viewing of shows and movies. I am not Deaf but I find the captioning useful when I miss the dialogue from what I am watching. There is a huge amount of people in the Deaf community and it would be wonderful if they could be included in a past time that is considered normal in everyday life. “

Pamela Conley


As a Deaf theatergoer, I must have on-screen open captioning. Other forms of access technologies and devices are separate, unequal, and cumbersome. They detract, not enhance, my overall movie-viewing experience. One time my friend, her son, and my son watched a movie, wearing glasses with popcorn butter on them. When an access device breaks, Deaf viewers automatically become stuck until the problem is resolved. This means Deaf viewers' plans for that day are significantly disrupted. Movie theaters suffer from this problem as well. They endure avoidable complaints and lose potential profits. They also have to replace these devices, which means additional expenses, not profits. Last, but not least, theaters have to employ workers to address these problems. This kind of dependency on such devices puts the affected individuals and businesses at a distinct disadvantage. If theaters provide the open-captioning tool for access by Deaf theatergoers, they would not need help in planning expenditure cuts, in formulating contingency plans, and in setting aside enough reserves to cushion the impact in case access devices malfunction or break. Captioning companies offer competitive high-quality and affordable services to theaters seeking to provide equal access of Deaf theatergoers. Make personal-evidence-based comments of Deaf theatergoers the highest priority in these rulemaking discussions.“

Stacy Lanpheare


Captioning should be available to anyone who requests it in movies shown in public. Separate is not equal. Equal access to entertainment is a right that all deserve.”

Larry Roberts


I am writing at the urging of other concerned advocates who make the following points” Similar to comments of Rebecca Payton ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0277 ), James Connor ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0291 ) and Susan Ruff (DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0070 ) . “I am a wheelchair user who is not Deaf or hard of hearing, but want to share the following: I grew up mostly sitting in the aisles or in back of movie theatres never really understanding the need for good sight lines and stadium seating. My local theater had to put stadium a few years ago and it makes a big difference to my enjoyment of movies. Deaf and Hard of Hearing are entitled to access movies in the most effective and inclusive way possible.”

Sam Damiano


We the Deaf people are so frustrated with device of closed captioned due to uncomfortable and always busy with items while watching movies. We just want to buy tickets then go and sit to watch movies with open captioned right away like hearing people listen voice while our eyes are listening by OC. Many times I don't want to go movies because of it. “

Anonymous Anonymous


Commend DOJ for explicitly requiring movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed captioning and audio description, as well as to provide individual captioning and audio-description devices for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing or blind or have low vision. “

Christopher Collier


Commenter is operator of four small, historic theaters and a member of the Art House Convergence. Digital “prints” (DCP) with audio description and closed captions should be the only content a theater is required to display with closed captions and audio description. Analog prints should be exempt for future review. DCP distributors should be required to include closed captions and audio description. “Mandatory implementation of equipment installation without complete compliance in providing the content makes the equipment worthless.” Cinemas with less than $500k annual revenue should be exempt, subject to future review. Theaters with up to $5M in revenue should have four years to comply. Number of devices should be based on average weekend attendance. “Many of our members feel strongly that we should not provide headsets for audio description nor receiving devices for closed captioning. We should provide only the signals for individuals to use their own devices. This will motivate customers to acquire devices that work well for their individual needs (e.g. we do not provide glasses for people who need their vision corrected) and individually owned devices will generally be a more sanitary than devices distributed for general use by the public.”

Dan Winchester


As a person with a disability, cerebral palsy and Deaf/hard of hearing and one who uses a wheelchair for mobility needs, I strongly urge the Department of Justice to mandate that on-captain features and technology become fully incorporated into the viewing experience. It will undoubtedly make it much easier for me to accurately follow the storyline of the movie. In addition from a cognitive perspective, the average moviegoer, from another country would achieve a better command of linguistic nuances through exposure to captioned movies. So the benefits would be multiple once implemented.”

Roger Claussen


I, as a deaf movie fan, I want to share my frustration with you about my local movie theater. They require me to call them two days in advance to set up open caption movie. Make it worse, they would show it very odd time such as 1 PM during the weekday. They do that because they do not want to be in conflict with their general patron to maximize their revenues. Bottom line, I want to see open caption movie anytime on any movie without calling them in advance.”

Anonymous Anonymous


I support open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when anyone requests it. That means equal access to each and every person that wants to watch a movie. Additionally, it can also be helpful for people that English is their second language. There is a large group of people that would benefit from that outcome. “

Richard McLaughlin


Duplicate of DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0264

Linda Adams


I am in favor of open captioning (OC) because this will benefit the deaf audience. The benefits are equal access, maximizing the enjoyment of the film without wearing the glasses that often leaves red marks on user's faces, and using the rearview caption often becomes an annoyance to those who are in the audience blocking their view. I believe in equal access for all. For instance, hearing people are not required to wear headphones to be able to listen to the film, nor shall the deaf people have to find a different solution to watch a film freely. Open captioning is the answer.”

Alexa Brill


Open-captioned movies should be available by request for every movie at all times. “ Remainder of comment largely duplicates comment of Linda Taylor at DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0268.

Jayna Young


Supports open captioning. With current small hearing aids, the deaf do not stand out. With closed captioning equipment, they do. As we have made public places accessible to those with wheelchairs, we need to make them accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing. “Help make this happen quickly. Many times changes like this do not occur until a date two or three years in the future. This needs to happen immediately. I bet the movie industry would stand behind it. It would only increase their box office revenue if the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community could watch a movie like so many other Americans do.”

Stephanie Silverman


As important community gathering places movie theatres should, ideally, be eager to invest in new technologies that allow them to better serve populations that have gone underserved for decades. The adoption of digital cinema has leveled an important playing field, allowing captioning and audio description to be delivered to audiences relatively easily. We have installed both the closed captioning and assistive listening units in our two-screen theatre recently and the technologies are exciting. All that being said I have a few concerns about the specifics of this proposed ruling.” Device requirement of 2% of capacity is “flat and arbitrary.” Theaters do not come close to selling out. Six month timeline is too tight. Suggest two years. Very small exhibitors should be exempt.

Courtney Gunville


I am deaf movie theater patron.I do agree with Wisconsin Association of the Deafs position, concerning the quality of captioning devices are being provided to my movie theaters in my home area. I can easily relate to what many of deaf and hard of hearing movie theater patrons real life experience with those devices. In closing, I support ways to improve devices that will meet our accessibility needs. At this point, none of those devices out in movie theaters across the nation is acceptable.”

Richard Kessler


Commenter owns 6 screen cinema. Recently spend $385k to convert to digital. Commenter's research indicates the addition of closed captioning would benefit two potential customers who are not regular moviegoers and would not become so with closed captioning. In a discussion with a local deaf woman. “She had been to a cinema that had the closed caption device and found the experience to be considerably less than satisfying. The glasses were bulky and uncomfortable and the quality of the experience was not worth the price of admission.” “I dare say that the other device is not much of an improvement. One, it distracts the viewer from the movie screen and is an annoyance to others in the theater.” “DOJ improperly assumes that these devices will somehow increase attendance. At this time, the severely hearing impaired can have better, more comfortable, captioned moviegoing experience at home and at a lower cost per viewing. “ “As a small 6-plex my cost to implement would be in excess of $12000. DOJ has under estimated the cost of implementation on small independent operations in small markets. That $12000 is merely a hard cost for the equipment. Add installation cost, maintenance, repair and training and it is easy to see that this burden is extremely excessive. There is absolutely no way to recover even a reasonable portion of this additional cost to my operation. “ “If distribution would provide (or be compelled to provide) me with a captioned digital print that could be displayed on screen without the devices. I would be happy to reach an accommodation with the hearing impaired in my area and provide a (private) screening of those films, at a reasonable time without any additional cost to them.”

Leopold Claussen


Commenter has hereditary hearing loss. “I wholeheartedly agree with the Wisconsin Association of the Deafs position concerning the quality of captioning devices that are being provided to movie theaters.” Currently, either captioning is not available, or the user must turn over some collateral to get a captioning device, then “take a 'walk of shame' to the actual movie screen while hearing onlookers gawk at the contraption in the deaf patron's hands, clearly singling them out as 'not normal'.” “In speaking with hearing friends and associates with no relation or ties to the deaf world, they all have almost unanimously welcomed having captions standard on all movie theater screens. If not for the reasons listed prior, simply for their own comprehension of what is being said amidst on-screen explosions or ambient theater noise. Were captioning made mandatory on all showings on all screens in all theaters across the country, the affected industries would recoup the costs in increased ticket revenue from their new deaf and hard of hearing patrons who previously never bothered attending a movie showing at a theater.” “Please take action in supporting ways to improve devices that will meet our accessibility needs. At it stands now, watching a movie at a movie theater is an awkward, if not degrading, experience for a deaf or hard of hearing person, myself included.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Good Idea”

Amanda McDaniel


By not having closed caption and other devices for the hearing impaired, we are limiting their ability to enjoy movies. We should all have the same access. Please change this law.”

Anonymous Anonymous


I am very excited about the possibility of all theaters being accessible for my family. We live in a large city with three movie theaters within 15 minutes of our house. The closest theater that offers captioned movies is 30-45 minutes away, and they only offer one captioned movie out of the 16 they show. Often it is not a movie we are interested in watching. Our family goes to only one or two movies a year because of this. We look forward to the possibility of going to the theater more often! “

Eric Wallbank


I support this”

Caroline Chabolla


Commenter lives near a liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing. Providing accessibility to deaf and hard of hearing is the right thing to do and will increase theater profits due to increased attendance. Commenter conducted a poll amongst her deaf friends and found that they found the caption glasses and audio description devices “inefficient, uncomfortable and annoying.” Sometimes captions are not available the opening week of a movie. “the glasses are heavy and they leave marks on the nose and ears. Since the captioning is inside the glasses it forces the deaf patrons to read inside the glasses making it hard to follow the movie and would often result in a headache. The rear window captioning was also a good alternative but it required patrons to look down at the screen for captioning then back up to the movie screen to watch the film. This constant head movement resulted in neck pains, headaches and caused the patrons to feel disconnected from the movie. “ “This proposed rule is a step in the right direction for equal access across the board, not just movie theaters. Passing this amendment could open doors for future technology benefitting the movie theater industry as well as deaf, hard of hearing, blind and low vision patrons.”

Gregory Rinker Jr


Yes. I support that movement because deaf and low vision people want to be entrainment. It will be boost the economy if they set up the CC (closed caption.)”

Sena Mathues


Duplicate of comment DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0264 .

Daniel Van Sant


Although I am hearing, I have a physical disability. I am a law student at Syracuse University. After talking with some deaf colleagues about their experiences with movie theaters and television, I had the opportunity to go to the largest movie theater in my area and try out captioning glasses. Overall, my experience with the captioning glasses (as a hearing person) was extremely negative.“ Getting the caption glasses proved difficult, even for this hearing individual. Filling out a form with personal information was uncomfortable. No one at the theater knew sign language, so a deaf person would have an even more difficult time. Juggling the receiver, glasses, and snacks proved dificult and attracted attention. “During the movie, I found the glasses to be more of a novelty than an actual accessibility tool. The text moved wherever I turned my head, making it disorientating. The text was difficult to read against the screen so I constantly had to look above or below the screen to follow along. I experienced headaches and mild motion sickness while using the glasses and had to take them off a couple times during the movie just the give my eyes a rest. They also put a lot of pressure on the bridge of my nose and on my ears, causing physical discomfort.” “While I understand that the glasses give access to movies for people who are deaf, my experience, and the experience of many of my deaf friends, is that these glasses really take away much of the enjoyment of the movie theater experience. That is why I oppose the use of captioning glasses and rear window captioning in theaters. I think a better alternative would be to offer open captioning. “ “I oppose the proposed regulation and suggest that open captioning be adopted instead.“

Patricia Lattin


Please require on-screen captioning for all films. This would cause no harm or inconvenience for anyone, and it would help millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people who, in many theaters, have no access to the sound. My almost-deaf husband, a great film-lover, has almost stopped going to films. Hearing devices, if available, only work about half the time. Some small theaters have no devices, and others have only one or two, first-come, first-served. I myself have trouble hearing the dialogue in about half the films that I go to see.”

June McMahon


I am a deaf movie patron. I am very concerned about the quality of captioning devices that are provided to movie theaters in my home area. I would like to improvement in devices to improve captioning. This will benefit deaf and hard of hearing people.”

Susan Whitt


It has been quite a while from the last time I have worked with you on the Movie Theater Accessibility Survey. Many of you have asked me what the results of the survey. Here is what we have done.
Attached are the Wisconsin Association of the Deafs (WAD) letter to Department of Justice on its position and the survey results for your review. Please review them carefully.” No attachment was found.

Paul Haugen


I would like to express my support for RIN 1190-AA63. I am not a deaf or hard of hearing person, but I think that providing open captions and up to date devices at movie theaters is needed and long overdue. I agree with the Wisconsin Association of the Deafs position concerning the quality of captioning devices which are being provided to movie theaters at this time. I can easily relate to the challenges that deaf and hard of hearing people face with the current captioning devices. I support ways to improve devices that will meet their accessibility needs. At this point, none of the devices which are available to deaf and hard of hearing people in movie theaters are acceptable.”

Phil Zacheretti


Commenter is founder and president of a small theater chain. “My comments concerning the unrealistic and very expensive captioning and audio descriptive devices would really hurt my business as I feel it places a very high financial burden on the theatres I manage. We have theatres that are as small as three screens and generate small box office grosses, but do provide a service of offering movies to their communities. We do offer descriptive services at all locations, but not the amount that the new regulations would require us to. We have never in our 13 years of operations, at any theatre, been asked for more devices than we have on hand by our customers. We have never had to refuse admittance any customer based on not having a device available for them.” “Our seat occupancy numbers run around 15% on a yearly average, so you can see we would never need the number of units you are suggesting.
Please reconsider the modified numbers that NATO is suggesting with other national groups to make the number of units reduced to a reasonable amount. “

Anonymous Anonymous


After having read as many of the comments as I could, and having worked in the past for a large theater chain and currently for an independent theater, Id like to comment. In addition to the cost and short compliance period for this ruling which many have mentioned (and I worry may disproportionately affect independent theaters, already a hard thing to find), I hope you give serious consideration to whether there may be better technological options coming down the pipeline that would be hindered by financially locking current technology into place. Invisivision glasses, phone apps (perhaps ones that unlock the movie youre seeing when a ticket is purchased with the needed captioning/audio description), or a return to Open Captioned screenings seem like possible options that could be better. Especially since I read how many people hate the current equipment being proposed. Also, having worked at a theater that ran Open Captioned shows before switching to the newer technology, one of the major drawbacks of the glasses is the difficulty in getting them to the customers in time for the show. During a rush, its nearly impossible to get them to the floor in a timely manner. At least with Open Captioned shows there was no intermediary equipment. Please consider whether making everyone adopt this technology as it stands could hurt everyone, theaters AND patrons, in the long run. “

Jude Claussen


Commenter has deaf husband. Advocates open captions. “Being we are seldom able to go to a movie together or if we do, whatever device there have given my husband to use has broke down and we have to go find someone and then we both miss the movie.”

Kay Tyberg


Endorses NATO et al proposal. “A chief concern our members have is the Department of Justices lack of implementing or requiring theater owners to do adequate or substantial marketing and outreach strategy in an effort to advertise and educate the public on the availability and advantages the listening assistive technology devices will aid the consumer with hearing loss in the theater.” DOJ should advise theaters on marketing strategy for assistive devices. “Theater owners can benefit firsthand in understanding the needs and challenges individuals with hearing loss experience. Undoubtedly, theaters ask consumers checking devices in and out as a security measure (I know theaters already do this), but theaters also keep records of how many people with hearing loss utilize the technology.” “What could the Department of Justice require theaters? Theaters can add movie trailers before the movie previews, and before the feature film is shown is a vital positive cost saving approach. Community Outreach program should include a minimal of 60-90 days of assistive technology device demonstration in the lobby area in plain view where consumers can see the assistive technology devices and ask questions. Another recommendation is a locked glass case with the devices on display at all times instead of hidden behind and under the counters as though the devices are secretive. Appropriate signage at the entrance of the theaters is valuable tool for consumers. The newspaper and movie theater advertisement should have a notice written on the theater brochure letting the consumer know if the theater has assistive technology devices, and what kind are available. Movie theaters should implement 90 days of periodic day time and prime time slot advertising on the radio and television about the availability of assistive technology devices. These are only a few initiatives which can readily promote and educate the public consumers that hearing loss individuals can now enjoy the same movies at the theaters as hearing people. The marketing and strategy methods are endless, but the Department of Justice should initiate requirements the theaters should follow through on.”

Deb Wiese


Commenter is blind and avid moviegoer. Most theaters do not have captioning or audio description. They are aware of the proposed rules. Besides audio description equipment, movies need to be produced with audio description.

Leticia Arellano


I am Deaf movie theater patron. I do agree with Wisconsin Association of the Deafs position, concerning the quality of captioning devices are being provided to my movie theaters in my home area. I can easily relate to what many of deaf and hard of hearing movie theater patrons real life experience with those devices. In closing, I support ways to improve devices that will meet our accessibility needs. At this point, none of those devices out in movie theaters across the nation is acceptable.”

Terry Morrell


Duplicate of comment of Leticia Arellano DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0355

Marika Kovacs-Houlihan


I can easily relate to what many of deaf and hard of hearing movie theater patrons real life experience with those devices. For example, last week I took my two boys to watch Mockingjay Part 1 movie, my caption device did not function fully - the captions went blank for ten to fifteen mintues and I had to ask my son to interpret what the actors saying. It went blank about 10 to 12 times during the entire movie!!” Otherwise duplicate of comment of Leticia Arellano DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0355

Heidi Schissler Lanham


Kentucky Protection and Advocacy (P&A) supports accessible theaters for all people. We have seen gains in accessibility due to litigation and advocacy. However, outside the major metropolitan areas in Kentucky, access to captioned movies is scarce. In the western and eastern parts of Kentucky deaf and hard of hearing citizens must often drive to other states to see accessible movies. Audio description is equally scarce. It is more likely for a theater to provide captioning than audio description. We support equal access to theaters for Kentuckians who require audio description to participate in the movie experience. Kentucky P&A does not have a stand on the number of devices required as long as the devices are adequate for the population and in good working order. Theater patrons should not have to be equipment troubleshooters. We also suggest that theaters regularly test the equipment to ensure it is in correct working order. We urge the Department to set a shorter deadline for accessibility. The Advance Notice for this regulation was started in 2010. Four years later, we are still in limbo regarding accessibility. We urge the Department to set a one (1) year deadline to require theaters to acquire equipment for captioning and audio description. We also encourage the Department to include analog theaters in this regulation. Many smaller or specialized theaters may not convert to digital. If analog theaters are exempt from captioning requirements, patrons will still face barriers to accessibility.”

George Myers


Commenter is with a 4 screen nonprofit theater. Proposes a two year period to raise funds, determine appropriate equipment, purchase and install equipment. Requests clearer standards on equipment so they can ensure what they get is compliant. Theaters may also play “digital content” that is not in a digital cinema package, so captions, if available, may not be playable on cinema closed captioning equipment.

Anonymous Anonymous


I am a parent of a deaf child and our experience has been that on several occasions the captioning device was not charged in advance and ready for use. Therefore, my child and friends didn't have any idea what was going on in the movie. Also, this theatre only has 2 or 3 devices, and I suggest it by the law that each theatre has at least a dozen devices on hand at each theatre.”

Marla Hatrak


Duplicate of comment of Leticia Arellano DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0355 except that she is a member of a family of four deaf people.

Kathryn Harbison


Have to ask the theater manager every time for the open captioned movie. After approval, we will have to wait for a couple of days or so to watch the movie. It is shown only once a day (their choice of the day). Feel limited. “

Tom Harbison


I like open-captioning the best. Alternatives are okay, but not to my preference. With open-captioning, I won't be worried if there are enough supply for deaf people in a theater at a time. Open-captioning is very convenient for my eyeglasses. Much easier to read. Would be beneficial to people who learn English as a second language.”

Ky Boyd


Salutes DOJ for implementing ADA more fully. Notes the high cost of digital conversion including a $2,000 per month per screen maintenance obligation. Suggests an 18 to 36 month period of time before the rules become effective. The number of devices proposed is costly. Not all features (especially independent and foreign) have captions or audio description. Existing equipment only supports captions and audio description of content delivered as a digital cinema package. Other delivery mechanisms (BLU Ray, etc.) will not drive this equipment. In addition, older single channel assistive listening equipment will need to be replaced with two channel equipment to support descriptive audio along with assistive listening.

Doug Whyte


Commenter is the Executive Director of the nonprofit historic Hollywood Theatre, an art house movie theatre in Portland, Oregon. Proposes that theaters with under $500k annual gross revenue be exempt from proposed rules. Only DCP content should be required to be run with closed captions and audio description, if available. Other formats would be exempt. Theaters with revenue up to $5M should have four years to comply to allow sufficient time for funds to be raised and time for the technology to mature. Device requirements should be based on average weekend attendance instead of seat count. “Most Art House cinemas only need 2-10 devices to accommodate the rather slight demand for these devices.” “I feel strongly that we should not provide headsets for audio description nor receiving devices for closed captioning. We should provide only the signals for individuals to use their own devices. This will motivate customers to acquire devices that work well for their individual needs (e.g. we do not provide glasses for people who need their vision corrected) and individually owned devices will generally be a more sanitary than devices distributed for general use by the public. “

Matt Dore


To be considered equals people who are deaf or hard of hearing seek equal rights and opportunity. It is unconstitutional to expect deaf people to accept being treated differently especially when there is capable technology that can allow them to receive the same treatment and reward as others. I am the son a of father who was born deaf. I am a senior electrical engineering student and feel that everyone benefits from having the language spoken on screen actually displayed on screen. For people who are against open captioning because it causes a distraction, I ask them how would you feel sitting in a movie theater surrounded by capable hearing people and having a device connected to your seat causing you to look all around to enjoy a movie you paid for. Not desirable, not fair, not American.”

John Tevanian, Bridgton Twin Drive-In


Bridgton Twin Drive-In is a small business that operates a 2 screen drive-in theatre in Bridgton, Maine.” “We fully support the Comments by the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association.”

John Walker, Cinema Cafe


Operates 23 screens in four locations. “Naturally it is good business to work with all ADA groups and to serve their needs. As a small business, we understand that our livelihood is connected to all of our customers and do not want to exclude anyone. I am also aware that the blind and hearing impaired groups have been patient in waiting for digital systems that can better serve them. It seems that it took several years to get the roll out of digital cinema to a reality. With that said, I do have a few concerns about the proposals that the DOJ have submitted and would like to comment.“ Have had less than 10 requests per year for assistive listening devices and never more than two simultaneous requests at a single location. Based on this, the number of closed captioning devices in the proposed rules appears excessive. “I request that you consider a much lower amount of devices, perhaps tied in with reviews on how many request are being made for the equipment. I cannot see any theater needing more then 4 devices to meet demand.“ Supports NATO et al proposal that theaters report actual usage to DOJ every 6 months. The cost of digital conversion does not leave the large amount of funds that would be required to comply with the proposed regulations. “The cash flow will be hard to overcome, but more importantly I believe that there are other advances in technology being developed that could solve the large expense associated with outfitting theaters and be more comfortable for the user. There are companies that are currently working on lower priced closed captioned glasses and others working on apps for smart phones or iPods that can be put into universal phone holders with an arm for the cup holder and used with earphones for descriptive audio and amplification. Six months to comply with the new rules is not enough time to research what is on, or coming on, the market and will be difficult and burdensome to plan and raise the funds. Please allow at least a year and a half for implementation. With this extra time we could plan for the expenditures and hopefully see some major breakthroughs with new products. Our business wants to serve all patrons but we also want to make sure that we are supplying the best and most comfortable equipment for our patrons and in quantities that will be used.“

Carolyn McCutcheon, Auto Drive In


The Auto Drive In is a small business that operates a two screen
drive-in theatre in Greenwood, SC. Supports comments filed by United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association.

Stephanie Vincent


Largely duplicate of comment of Leticia Arellano DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0355 . “I am constantly amazed that with currently fast paced technology, we couldnt come up with a better device for deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers. Hence, I am in total support ways to improve devices that will meet our accessibility needs with ease. At this point, none of the devices out in movie theaters across the nation is acceptable.”

Beatrice Anonymous


Duplicate of DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0335

Patricia Branz, Wisconsin Association of the Deaf


Duplicate of DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0335

William Mather, Wisconsin Association of the Deaf


Duplicate of DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0335

Brian DeCiancio


Supports NATO et al proposal and United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association comments.

Matt Ellis


Commenter is deaf movie patron who attends one to two movies per month. Does not enjoy the decline in captioning access. Captioning glasses are cumbersome and only work half the time and, even then, skips some dialog. Cup holder devices suffer similar issues AND take up the cup holder, leaving no place for his $9 drink. Obtaining a captioning device considerably slows the process of getting to the auditorium. “Bring back open captioning. Captions on the screen helps EVERYBODY, not just deaf people. American literacy rate has been declining since forever. Captioning benefits ALL! Otherwise, those patrons who can hear has to sit through Bane mumbling his lines and not understanding anything again!”

Bill Campbell


Commenter operates a six screen theater in Wyoming and a single screen in Montana. Since well over half the screens in the country already offer captioning and audio description, questions whether regulation is required. The number of required devices proposed is excessive. The timeline for installation is too short. “With the passage of the ADA in 1990 theatres were required to purchase and have ready headphones for assistive listening equaling roughly 4% of the total seating in the theatre complex. In my six screen theatre this was 34 units and my single screen, which has almost as many seats as my six-plex, required 24 units. In the nearly 25 years that I have had this system installed patrons have used the headsets less than 50 times. Never did I have more than one headset out during any one showing. This means that I had 56 headsets sitting in a closet never being used.“ “I purchased my captioning and visually impaired equipment with what I believe to be a reasonable number of units for around $13,000. Now with the proposed approximately 2% of seating for captioning devices I will have to purchase another $10,000 in captioning devices. At a cost of close to $500 per unit if I get a usage rate much like the assistive listening devices, I will have $13,500 of equipment sitting in a closet instead of being invested to improve the movie going experience for all patrons. “ “As for my second concern, as currently proposed the requirement for all theatres to have all equipment installed in 6 months from adoption is if not unpresented, definitely overreaching. Even though I have installed my equipment for a theatre just getting started in this process to order, wait for production and shipment, arrange installation by a qualified theatre technician, train staff on usage and maintenance, and produce any materials needed to inform customers how to use the equipment is very hard to do in a six month window. Even the newly adopted FDA rule on menu labeling gave theatres one year to comply.“ Supports NATO et al proposal but would like theater to determine initial device requirment.

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter has lived with hearing loss for almost 50 years. Requirements, especially advertising availability of captioning, should be applied to third parties that rent theaters, such as film festivals. Mandated devices will quickly become obsolete. The DOJ should consider requiring theaters to allow patrons to use their own accessibility devices. NATO has just announced a program to disallow wearable devices during film screenings. These devices could be used to meet accessibility needs. “movie theaters should be required to notify the public of each captioned movie on their schedule. In the future, the requirement can be revised. The American public, and not just the disabled public, still does not know that captioning is possible at the movies.
The Department can foster the development of future technologies by clearly stating that devices used for the valid accessibility reasons are accepted at all times in a movie theater.”

Kathryn Walter


I personally don't believe that every theater should be required to have closed-captioning for every showing of every movie, nor do I believe that a small theater should be required to have an unlimited number of headsets for patrons. I think however it is important for any theater to be able to provide those with disabilities the ability to enjoy any movie. It is a sticky situation that I hope a solution is found for.”

Juliet Goodfriend, Bryn Mawr Film Institute


Small theaters would be better able to serve the hearing and visually impaired if they were not locked out of content due to territorial exclusivity arrangements of major chains. For example, the commenter's theater cannot run the Metropolitan Opera (with captions) due to an exclusive arrangement with a theater 40 miles away.

Jose G. Lara


Commenter is a community organizer for El Paso Desert ADAPT. “I support open-captioned movies to be displayed on movie screens when a Deaf or hard of hearing individual requests it in order to give equal access to all movie goers.”

Shirley Confino Rehder, Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Norfolk VA et al


Required closed caption and audio description on all movies being produced, including Blu/Ray/DVD;
Require theaters to broadcast the various ADA signals (HI, VI-N, CC) and regulate which signals/frequencies will be protected for ADA, including the Loop; Requirements for assistive devices should be based on attendance of each theatre, with guidelines for the number devices based on the attendance. Allowance for compliance to be commensurate with size of theatre, and costs involved, starting with the 6-months as outlined in the proposed regulation. All current and new technically developed devices for achieving equal access to persons who are blind/have low vision and deaf/have loss of hearing, including the Loop, should be included in this regulation.”

Batya Lerner


Please require movie theaters to have closed captions at all showings. As the baby boomers age their hearing deteriorates and they don't want to be excluded from enjoying movies.”

Richard Lustiger, Harkins Theatres


Commenter has 432 screens at 30 locations. Has had closed captions on 100% of screens since 2012. Strongly objects to proposed scoping requirements. It would cost $250,000 to increase the number of audio description devices and closed caption devices from the current sufficient quantity to the quantities in the proposed rules. Audio description devices cost about $50 each. Closed captioning devices cost more than $300 each. Commenter currently has 1 of each unit for every 2 screens with a few additional units at smaller locations with a minimum of 3 units per location. Have also added units where demand is high, such as near schools for deaf or blind. This has added 35 units system-wide with no more than 3 additional units at any location. Total scoping with the additional units is 0.58 units per screen. Large groups can attend with prior notice since additional units can be borrowed from nearby locations. Availability of the equipment has been well publicized. Free passes were sent to disability groups, and there were several free screenings for disabled individuals and their families to demonstrate and promote the technology. Commenter has never had insufficient equipment to meet demand. Commenter strongly supports NATO et al proposal.

Dr. Winslow Sargeant, SBA Office of Advocacy


small businesses have told Advocacy that this rule will have a significant economic impact on small theater owners, particularly because it comes so soon after they have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars converting to digital cinema. Small theater owners are concerned that the Department has set an arbitrary and excessive number of required accessibility devices and that the timeframe in which theaters can purchase this equipment is too short. Advocacy believes that the Department has underestimated the compliance costs of this rule” According to data from NATO, the DOJ cost analysis underestimates the number of seats in auditoriums. Since the proposed rules base the number of required devices on seat count, the estimated cost is low. DOJ estimates captioning devices at $430 to $479 each. This is for “cup holder” devices. Theaters may purchase glasses devices because of customer preference. These can cost over $1,250 each. DOJ estimates of $100 to $1,000 for annual maintenance costs may not cover the replacement cost of devices broken by customers. Theaters have just spend a considerable amount to convert to digital ($75k to $200k per screen) and do not have funds available to comply with the increased cost of these regulations. Small theaters operate on tight budgets. For example, a 2014 survey of members of the Art House Convergence shows the mean revenue at a little more than $1M and expenses at a little over $930k. Actual attendance is far below seat count. “Small theater owners are concerned that they will be required to purchase large numbers of expensive devices that will go unused.” “For example, one small theater owner from a rural town of 7,000 in New York only reported one request a decade. Small theater owners recommend that the agency use more relevant factors such as device usage, demand and theater attendance in setting scoping requirements.” “The Department believes that the demand for devices will be greater than one device per auditorium; however it requires relatively large numbers of devices without any justification or data.” “Itis unclear as to why the device requirements need to be so high to accomplish the Department’s goals. Given the high cumulative costs of this equipment, the Department should determine the optimal number of devices sufficient to provide accessibility to the disability community while minimizing the burden on these small entities.” Small theater owners recommend closed captioning device requirements be the same as audio description devices (one per screen, minimum of two per theater). Art House Convergence suggests deferring rules on theaters with gross less than $500k and that device numbers be based on average weekend attendance. The six month compliance time is too short. Several alternatives are listed including an extra 2 years for small businesses. The DOJ needs to clarify as to whether “pop up” theaters, theaters that play from Blu Ray or DVD, temporary theaters (film festival tents), libraries, convention centers, etc. are “movie theaters” that must comply with the proposed rules. Rules on analog theaters should be deferred due to the questionable future of film distribution.

Raymond Smith, Jr., Regal Entertainment Group


Commenter operates 7,381 screens in 578 theatres. Since the late 1990s, commenter has worked with individuals and disability rights groups to identify access needs and obstacles. Commenter has partnered with trade associations to encourage the production of captioned content. Commenter has solicited manufacturers to develop captioning technology and has worked to assist the development of captioning technology standards to promote interoperability. Commenter has captioning technology at all its digital screens. Basing the number of caption devices on seat count results in too many devices in most theaters and too few in others. “This will not benefit consumers or motion picture theatre operators. In addition, as proposed the NPRM will stymie or completely eliminate the opportunity for technological advances in captioning devices, which will directly harm the specific individuals the rule is proposed to assist.” Regal supports the NATO et al proposal to base the number of devices on demand.

Lise Hamlin, Hearing Loss Association of America


Comments of HLAA (organization representing people with hearing loss) and A. G. Bell (advocates spoken language for deaf children and provides advocacy for the deaf and hard of hearing). HLAA and A. G. Bell joined NATO in joint recommendations that are included with these comments. Beyond the joint recommendations, these organizations file specific comments. Accept the exclusion of drive-in theaters since the technology does not exist. The department should institute a rulemaking to include drive-in theaters should the technology become available. The definition of a movie theater subject to the proposed regulations should include museums, cruise ships, and other movie presentation locations whether they charge admission or not. The term “closed captioning” is clearly understood, but “closed movie captioning” is acceptable. “Open captioning” is well understood, and the term “open movie captioning” is not required. The same rules should apply to small and large businesses (conditioned on acceptance of the Joint Recommendation scoping requirement). As stated in the Joint Recommendation, theaters should be required to place purchase orders within six months of the effective date of the rule. Equipment is to be operational within six months of delivery or within two years of the effective date of the rule, whichever occurs first. There appears to be no reason to exempt analog screens since Rear Window technology can be used on these screens. Theaters that are not in compliance with the closed captioning requirement (have an undue burden) should be required to run open captions on request. Regulations should specify details for such requests (timeliness, show times, etc.). The Joint Recommendation makes demand based scoping requirements for closed captioning devices. Generally concur with proposed performance requirements of individual caption devices. Recommend that the rule state that a device must “Be properly maintained, clean and functional, and be easily usable by the patron. Ensuring that a device is functional means that the device operates consistent with the manufacturer’s design.” Captioning devices should be able to have font size, font color, background color, and opacity. Captions must be complete and in sync with the audio portion of the show. Captioning devices are to be sufficiently adjustable to be used by children. “the rule should include a requirement that theaters consult with equipment developers and manufacturers, as well as with patrons with hearing loss, to support innovation and ensure that new and cutting edge captioning technologies meet or exceed all performance requirements needed by people with hearing loss.” “Question 13 suggests that the Department intends to define in this regulation a universal standard of “undue burden.” Doing so would be contrary to the well-established principle, as indicated in the NPRM, that the determination of undue burden requires a fact-specific, case-by-case analysis.” The marketing requirements of the Joint Recommendation should be adopted. The staff training requirements of the Joint Recommendation should be adopted. The number of people with hearing loss is substantially higher than that specified in the NPRM. “Regardless of how many people will be able go to the movies for the first time, or return to the movie theaters, we agree with the Department that this is essentially an issue of fairness, equity and equal access.” “We agree with the Department that this non-quantifiable benefit justifies the costs of requiring captioning at movie theaters. Further, because it will bring people into theaters and back to the theaters, we believe there is great potential that these costs will be offset for these theaters by generating greater movie attendance revenue.”

Anonymous Anonymous


Commenter is a privately owned operator of theaters in 19 locations with 231 total screens and a total of 3,695 seats. All screens have assistive listening. Many screens have closed captioning and descriptive audio. Based on experience with closed caption and descriptive audio devices, the proposed minimum device requirements far exceed the actual demand. The six month compliance peiod is not sufficient to account for the cost of compliance and the expected shortage of available equipment. Commenter operates a theater with 16 screens and 2,989 seats. All screens have closed captioning and seven devices were available. During the first 7 months of 2014, devices were requested 8 times per month. One or two devices would have been sufficient to meet demand. Usage varies between locations, but in no location did actual usage approach 1/3 of the proposed requirement. Use of audio description is far less than that of closed captioning. The proposed number of devices far exceeds demand. After the digital conversion, funds are not available for a large outlay for closed captioning and audio description equipment in the very short proposed period. “There are only a few manufacturers and sellers of the CC and AD equipment. With every theater company in America attempting to comply within the same timeframe, it is expected that there will be shortages of equipment and labor for installation. Moreover, the demand for equipment will most likely push the cost up, particularly for smaller operators, who will be lower volume purchasers.” “We recommend that the Proposed Rule be revised to substantially reduce the minimum required number of CC and AD devices or, alternatively, be revised to set any required minimum based on the theatre’s actual usage rates and not on its total seats or total screens. We further recommend that the compliance period be extended to at least 12 months and that compliance be determined by an operator’s enabling of screens and placing of orders for CC and AD devices to account for the likely backlog of available inventory of devices.”

Christopher Koopman, Mercatus Center at George Mason University


The Regulatory Studies Program of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the effects of regulation on society. As part of its mission, the program conducts careful and independent analyses that employ contemporary economic scholarship to assess rulemaking proposals and their effects on the economic opportunities and social well-being available to all members of American society.” “1. The DOJ fails to identify a systemic or market failure that would justify this regulation. In particular, the DOJ has failed to measure the extent to which movie theaters are already providing, or failing to provide, captioning and audio description services. The DOJ has also failed to measure whether other forms of entertainment, such as video-on-demand and streaming services, are already providing captioning and audio description outside of the traditional movie theater experience. While the DOJ refers to general qualitative values, it fails to define these values in the broader context of movie theaters and fails to provide evidence that these proposed rules will advance those values. Further, the proposed rule fails to measure or monetize any benefits. This makes it impossible to support the assertion that this rule’s benefits outweigh the set of tangible costs that would be imposed on movie theaters. 3. The costs of this rule will disproportionately burden small movie theaters relative to larger movie theaters; moreover, depending on the option chosen by the DOJ, this rule would disproportionately affect analog theaters relative to digital theaters. 4. The design of this rule may actually cause a reduction in the number of entertainment options available to disabled individuals and discourage theaters from adopting and marketing business practices geared toward the visually and hearing impaired.” “1. The DOJ should conduct an industry-wide survey of movie theaters across the United States to determine the extent to which captioning and audio description is provided and when theaters adopted these technologies. This would provide an accurate picture of the adoption of these services over time, allowing the DOJ to assess the extent to which movie theaters currently provide disabled patrons with these technologies and whether there is a trend among theaters to provide these technologies absent regulation. 2. If, after conducting the survey, the DOJ still finds the proposed regulations necessary, it could maintain a general requirement of auxiliary devices but refrain from setting rigid quotas on the number of captioning and audio description devices each theater must acquire. This would promote the overall outcomes that are at the heart of the ADA without mandating some strict output requirements that may not be necessary for some theaters to be in compliance.

Jody Arlington, IFP Festival Forum


The IFP Festival Forum is a professional association that advocates for the needs and interests of Film Festivals and their organizers.” “Film Festivals often provide a platform for independent filmmakers to find an audience and distribution. Therefore the Film Festival exhibition can take place before the film has received funding. Once a film has attended a Film Festival and is fortunate enough to be acquired by a distribution entity the film may go through several edits before being ready to present in a commercial setting. We laud the DOJ for not requiring festivals to bear the cost of encoding for closed captioning nor place this cost on independent filmmakers, or which could lead festivals to reject most films due to time and finances.” “The DOJ should consider explicitly exempting film festivals to prevent undue logistical and financial burdens, or confusion about compliance fortemporary exhibition events.” “The DOJ should make explicit much earlier in the rule its definition of a movie theater to include only “facilities used primarily for the purpose of showing movies to the public for a fee” to prevent festivals, temporary venues and even audience confusion.” “The DOJ should calculate audiences by average attendance, not available seats, when determining how many devices a venue should purchase.”

Abigail Lowin, Rebecca Yergin


Although we are not individuals with hearing or visual impairments, we have family members and friends with such disabilities. Moreover, we are currently law school students with an interest in nondiscrimination: One of us is a former teacher of students with disabilities and the other has a public health background with a focus on geriatric patients.” Recommends the use of the term “audio descrition,” though the DOJ should research this more to ensure it is clear to users. The term “closed movie captioning” does not describe the individual nature of cinema closed captioning, but other terms (such as “individual captioning”) are not widely used. “the notion that “closed captioning” is “good enough” must not deter the Department from holding places of public accommodations to higher standards whenever possible.” “We believe the Department should use the phrase “open movie captioning” to refer to captioned text that the entire audience sees.” The DOJ should clarify “on or near” the screen in the open movie caption rules. On screen captions may be interpreted as “fundamentally altering” the nature of the movie-going experience. Open captions “near” the screen may not. However, such technology may not be available. Recommend the DOJ defer rules on analog theaters. “... deferring the application of the rule to analog screens seems to have the dual benefit of allaying some of the industry’s cost concerns and incentivizing theaters to adopt new technology.” Describes legislative history of ADA including ““[T]heaters are encouraged to have at least some pre-announced screenings of a captioned version of feature films.” The legislative history seems to favor the Department playing a more active role in ensuring the availability of open captioning.” The DOJ needs to define a “timely request” for open captions. “Like the Department, we believe that a pattern of “few requests” for devices historically is not necessarily evidence of low demand. However, citing the standard for assistive listening devices and requiring approximately half of that for individual captioning devices does not seem to be a sufficient basis for scoping.” “The industry argues that “few requests” in the past demonstrate a low demand for devices. While we appreciate the concern that theaters will end up with unused devices, we think the Department rightly argues that the “few requests” result from the lack of notice about assistive technology and not from a lack of interest in movies from individuals with vision and hearing impairments. Many commenters with such disabilities contend that they do not try to attend movies because they are not aware that technologies exist to aid them. Moreover, some have said they have showed up at theaters that advertise individual devices but are unable to find them or turn them on. Given our experiences not seeing advertisements in theaters, even when looking for them while researching this issue, we find this justification very plausible. The Department also aptly notes the “anticipated increase in the number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States that will come with an aging population.”20 Thus, just as the Department did not base its standards for physical accessibility to public accommodations on the number of disabled people who had tried to access inaccessible facilities in the past,21 the Department should not rely on past demand in movie theaters to scope the number of individual captioning devices required in the future.” “We do not necessarily think the scoping is “not correct,” but we question the Department’s decision to provide about half the number of individual captioning devices as assistive listening devices. On the one hand, we fully support greater access for individuals with disabilities. On the other hand, we are mindful of the costs that such a requirement might entail. Moreover, if theaters are required in the near future to purchase a certain amount of devices, they may be unable to or uninterested in purchasing new technology that may develop to better meet individuals’ needs.” “For the most part, we believe that the Department has adequately described the performance standards...” “The Department could add standards to its regulations to require devices to “offer text in multiple sizes.”” “As with the question about scoping for closed captioning devices, we advise the Department to provide greater clarity around how it developed its scoping requirements for audio description—and how and why its scoping of audio description devices differs from its scoping of closed captioning devices. We appreciate that many theaters currently have devices with two channels that mean the scoping would not require an extra burden.” “... we recommend a similar approach to that of scoping closed captioning devices: Utilize census data on visual impairments to determine the scoping, and allow for an adjustable standard.” “The Department should require theaters to provide notice regarding the availability of assistive devices. In addition to providing notice as part of marketing campaigns, the Department should require theaters to assess the feasibility of including notice before each show time.”

Christina Farrell


Commenter is second year law student at Syracuse University College of Law. “Although I am not deaf or hard of hearing, I chose to experience the Closed Captioning glasses in order to provide a comment on this proposed rule. My anecdotal experience will shed some insight into the problems with the Closed Captioning glasses. Through my experience, I have identified five major problems with the Closed Captioning glasses.” Not all movies are captioned. There is a delay in getting the captioning glasses. The glasses did not work because they were programmed for another auditorium. The first 10 minutes of the movie were missed. Users need to provide their full name and phone number. This information is visible (on a list) to other users and theater personnel. This can be considered a privacy invasion. Use of the glasses themselves is a privacy invasion since those with the glasses can be identified as disabled. The glasses are large and heavy. Needed to point head towards floor to properly position text at bottom of screen. The theater appeared unprepared for deaf patrons. The manager did not know if any staff understood ASL and did not have pen and paper available to non-verbally communicate with a patron. “I would urge you to require closed captioning for all films and open captioning to be offered for every movie at least once a week during a prime time and would suggest requiring theaters to progressively shift to open captioning over time by increasing the number of movies offered in open captioning every year.”

Lynn Kinsella


Commenter represents a single screen theater built in 1925. The theater has 646 seats and average daily attendance is 127. Based on the DOJ proposal, this theater would have to purchase 11 receivers and install the related equipment for a cost of $12k. In January 2013, the theater spent more than $75k to convert to digital. The loan is still being paid. The digital equipment may need replacement in 5 to 8 years. Comment details revenue and expenses showing it about breaks even. Currently serves hearing impaired with an FM system. Receivers are requested less than 6 times a year. “We do not have financial ability to continue to invest in technology that does not add additional revenue opportunity in keeping our business financially viable. We are currently paying off loans for a digital projection unit that did not add additional revenues,” “We would request that single screen and independent theatres below $500,000 annual income be exempt from this ruling in order to ensure our future viability.”

John Vincent Jr, United Drive-In Theatre Owners


Commenter represents 174 drive-in theater operators. There are about 393 drive-in theaters in the U.S. With a total of 656 screens. Most drive-in theaters are independent owner operated small businesses. The largest drive-in operator has 7 sites. “ While we would be delighted to accommodate all potential customers, we have examined all current captioning technologies and no technologies exist that are possible in drive-in theatres. And, given the small size of our industry and lack of return on investment for equipment manufacturers, we do not expect any equipment capable of same to be developed nor manufactured. In as far as Descriptive Audio, the sound is typically presented to the public via FM Stereo broadcast and/or Field Speakers. The vast majority of Drive-In movie going occurs during warm weather with patrons either outside their vehicles in lawn chairs or inside with the windows down. A different soundtrack broadcast via a second FM Channel with the descriptive audio would clearly be heard by patrons that don’t require the descriptive audio, and would fundamentally alter the nature of the movie experience. We have examined private listening devices and found that none currently can be used in an outdoor environment to include lack of external antennas and transmit power that can reach patrons on the field. Given the small size of our industry and lack of return on investment for equipment manufacturers, we do not expect any equipment capable of same to be developed nor manufactured. Based on these facts, we request that drive-in theatre operators be exempted from the requirements of any final rule.”

Elizabeth Francis, Wellfleet Theatres


Commenter “is a small business that operates a four screen indoor theatre and 1 screen drive-in theatre.” Supports NATO et al proposal. Supports United Drive-In Theatre Owners comments.

Syracuse University Disability Rights Clinic


There are nearly 36 million individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Thus captioning, not only has the potential to increase attendance at many theaters, but it also serves to reduce barriers for those individuals to enjoy one ofthe largest forms of entertainment in America. We support this proposed regulation as it requires movie theaters, a public accommodation, to be in compliance with Title III ofthe ADA as it would provide individuals with visual and hearing impairments equal access to the movies.” “We, therefore, support this proposed rule and agree with the Department regarding the effective date ofthis regulation. Six months after the publication ofthe final rule is sufficient time for movie theaters to develop policies for compliance.” “We believe this proposed rule should not exempt analog movie theaters from compliance. Because the production of analog films is declining, it is reasonable to give analog theaters four years to comply and convert their projection systems as is the trend already.” “In regards to captioning devices, determining the number ofdevices to require movie theaters to provide has the potential to be a very simple calculation: zero. That is, if the DOJ required that all movie theaters show films with open captioning, where those films are available, arguments relating to cost of purchase and upkeep would be rendered moot.” “Despite our strong opposition, the DOJ has made clear these regulations are not intended to require open captioning in movie theatres. Thus, we must consider the calculations provided that estimate the number ofcaptioning and audio devices necessary for a theater to provide.” “We agree that the determination should be made in regards to the theater's total audience capacity. We disagree, however; with the determination that only two individual captioning devices should be required for 100 seats or less. With this requirement, one family, with more than two members that are Deaf or hard of hearing would be unable to enjoy the film together.” “As such, it is our recommendation that a minimum offour devices be required for theaters with less than 100 seats. This figure is derived from the average population per American household and social trends associated with the movie-going experience. In regards to theaters with more than 100 seats, we propose that the theater provide assistive devices for 5% of its total capacity. To reiterate, there is always an alternative for theaters concerned with the cost of purchasing the captioning devices. Those theatres are more than encouraged to screen films with open captioning at no additional cost.” Supports proposal that staff be trained to operate devices and assist patrons. Supports proposed public notice requirements. “The proposed rules are a welcomed acknowledgment that movie theaters have, for far too long, failed to provide any meaningful access to their screenings for persons with hearing or visual disabilities. However, particularly for many in the Deafor hard ofhearing community, anything less than captions directly on the screen fails to provide equal and effective access.Describes experience with captioning glasses. Recommends the use of open captions. If theaters are reluctant to run open captions on all shows, the DOJ should require at least one prime time showing of each film be with open captions.

Kristin Aiello, Disability Rights Center of Maine


Commenter supports the NATO et al joint statement. Supports additional comments by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). All theaters, analog and digital, are places of public accommodation and must comply with ADA. Analog theaters should not be exempt. An undue burden defense must be applied on a case by case basis. The definition of movie theater should be expansive. It should cover non-profit theaters and drive-in theaters. Open captions and innovative forms of closed captions should be explored instead of exempting drive-in theaters. Supports use of the term “Audio Description.” Instead of “closed movie captioning,” the use of “closed captioning” and “open captioning” should be used. No separate compliance schedule should be made for non-profit or small theaters. Open captions are preferred. Open captions can also be used while theaters develop closed captioning, when captioning equipment is not available (all being used or not working), or when a large group has made an advance request for open captions. Supports NAD's assertions regarding the technical and logistic issues associated with various closed captioning technologies. These include the lack of child-sized equipment, bulky or heavy glasses or headphones, interference with cochlear implant, lack of ability to alter font size, and difficulty in watching the film and caption box at the same time. Opposes exempting non-profit theaters. Existing tests for undue burden should be applied on a case by case basis.

Gina DiSanto, The Pearl Theatres


Number of devices should be based on annual attendance or another means instead of number of seats. As the proposed rule currently reads, it will place a tremendous burden on theaters in small markets. Greater than 60% of ticket sales go back to film companies. Concession sales pay employees and other expenses. Theaters are seeing increasing costs due to digital conversion, minimum wage increases, health insurance, sugar taxes, menu labeling, etc. Commenter's 900 seat theater in a town of about 8,000 people would need to purchase 18 units at a cost of about $20,000. Existing assistive listening devices are barely used. “While we support the need for captioning in movie theatres, the way the current ruling is listed, it will make it very challenging for theatres to survive in small towns.”

Jonathan Miller, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office


Commenter obtained settlement with three large movie theater chains in 2010 which significantly increased the availability of auxiliary aids and services in movie theaters in Massachusetts. “While our view is that the Americans with Disabilities Act already requires auxiliary aids and services, including captioning and audio description at movie theaters, the Departments proposed regulations would nonetheless greatly assist the Commonwealth in its efforts to enforce the ADA.” Analog film is likely to continue as evidenced by the recent release of Interstellar on 35mm and 70mm prints. All public accommodations must refrain from discriminating against a person because of a disability. The department is urged to address other public accommodations such as museums, historic sites, and amusement parks. The proposed regulations should apply to all movie theaters, film, digital, small, large, non-profit, etc. The undue burden defense is available for those who need it. “The Commonwealth opposes creating explicit exceptions to the regulation because doing so could have the potential of creating zones of inaccessibility.” “The Department should adopt a four-year compliance date for analog movie screens rather than defer applying this regulations specific rules to analog screens at this time. While the industry is largely transitioning to digital technology, movies may still be distributed on film and movie theaters may continue to exhibit movies using analog technology for a variety of reasons. And, there are analog movies available with captions and/or audio description. The four-year compliance deadline gives these movie theaters a variety of options and flexibility. For example, these movie theaters could phase in auxiliary aids and services to spread the cost of compliance over several years. These movie theaters would also have time to acquire used MoPix systems, which may be available from other movie theaters that have converted to digital technology.”

Andrew Phillips, National Association of the Deaf


Collective comments of The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCASDHH), American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB), Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization (CPADO), and Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) (collectively, the “Consumer Groups”). These groups support the proposals made by NATO, et al. “The Consumer Groups appreciate that the DOJ is broadly requiring closed captioning access in theaters across the country, and urge the requirement of open captioning as well.” “We are not aware of a single digital theater anywhere in the country that has shut its doors due to an actual or potential requirement that it display closed captions. The NPRM essentially mandates nationally the results that have occurred in many parts of the country, particularly in the jurisdictions where litigation has taken place. We believe that this mandate is appropriate and achievable.” The language of the ADA makes it clear that it applies to movie theaters, but House and Senate reports on implementing the ADA contain stand-alone statements without explanation that “open captions of feature films playing in movie theaters is not required by this legislation.” “However, this predetermination of the infeasibility of “open captioning” is rooted in the technology existing at the time and does not reflect the spirit or intent of the ADA.” Consumer groups recommend the Deparment “remove from the proposed Section 36.303(g)(2)(ii) the deplorable language that “Open movie captioning at some or all showings of movies is never required as a means of compliance with this section, even if it is an undue burden for a theater to exhibit movies with closed movie captioning in an auditorium.”” When the ADA was passed in 1990, there was no method to show captions such that they were visible to only certain patrons (closed captions). Open captions were “burned in” to the film requiring them to be used on all showings or for the theater to have two prints, one with captions and one without. There was also considerable setup time in changing films. Captioning technology, both open and closed, has improved dramatically since then. The exclusion in the legislative history should not be enshrined as law when the plain language of the ADA mandates captioning as an auxiliary aid or service and includes movie theaters as places of public accommodation. The comments provide a summary of the judicial history on movie captioning. “Notwithstanding such widespread use of closed captioning technology throughout movie theaters across the country, open captioning is still a necessary means of access to movies for many deaf and hard of hearing consumers.” “The Department should be promoting such innovation by requiring open captioning pursuant to our position in this Comment, and even if the Department chooses not to require open captioning as part of this rulemaking, the Department should make it clear that such a decision does not preempt any state law that may require open captioning.” Until all movies have captions and audio description, theaters must provide notice as to which ones have these features. This notice must also include information as to the type of captioning (open or type of closed captioning device). “It is critically important that the DOJ require every movie to have captions. While the trend is for every movie studio to provide captioning files for virtually every movie, the legal demand needs to ensure all movies and previews shown in theaters are captioned, and section 36.303(g)(2)(i) needs to reflect this mandate.” “ We are aware, of course, that movie studios are not among the “public accommodations” enumerated in the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12182(7). However, the obligation to provide auxiliary aids and services extends not only to owners of those facilities, but also to “operators.” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). Through contractual arrangements with theater owners, studios control such things as the size of the auditorium in which a movie plays and the length of the engagement. For those reasons, we submit that a movie studio is more akin to an “operator” than to a mere supplier of a product, whose involvement essentially ends when the product is furnished to the retailer.” Analog theaters should be subject to these rules unless they can demonstrate an undue burden. There should be no categorical exemptions. Similarly, drive-in theaters and non-profit theaters should not have a categorical exemption. In a survey by the Wisconsin Association of the Deaf, 95% of the 25,028 respondents preferred open captions over closed captions. Comments list several difficulties with existing closed caption devices. “The Consumer Groups ask that the DOJ require theater operators to turn on open captioning upon advance request by a group of deaf and hard of hearing individuals, or in the event that the theater does not have sufficient number of captioning devices for a large group of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.” Theaters should be able to comply with accessibility requirements by turning on open captions upon receipt of a timely request (no closed captioning equipment would be required). Comments provide examples of theaters that offer “Captioned Tuesdays” or similar where all showings on that day have open captions. A theater may choose to use open captions before it installs closed captioning equipment, when there are not enough operable closed captioning devices, or when a group requests open captions. “Closed captioning devices should include the ability to increase/decrease text sizes and text color so that deaf and hard of hearing individuals who have vision challenges can adjust the size and color to better ensure readability to suit their individual needs.” “the regulations need to require that theater operators perform continuous and frequent testing of the equipment and devices, including replacing batteries and any broken parts when needed. Further, there is a need to provide an indication that the equipment and/or devices are working at the outset of a movie theater experience such as showing captions during the previews/trailers prior to the showing of the movie. Or, in the absence of such captions for the preview/trailers, some sort of captioning should be provided on the device to indicate that the captioning feature is in working order prior to the start of the movie.” “In addition, there needs to be a quality assurance system to evaluate the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and appropriateness of the captions for each movie. Deaf and hard of hearing people are not the ones who can assess whether the captions are accurate, complete, timely, or appropriate as they have no basis for comparison between what is spoken and what is captioned. Independent evaluation of the captioning for each movie has to be performed in some fashion, and this needs to be included in the regulations.” “Finally, the DOJ needs to develop a program to encourage innovation in captioning technologies so that the movie theater experience is enjoyable to all deaf and hard of hearing individuals as well as those with other disabilities such as Sensory Processing Disorder. Testing and evaluation of captioning devices should always include a significantly large number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals as well as local and national deaf and hard of hearing consumer organizations to assess overall ease in use and enjoyment by as many individuals as possible.” “Any notice provided by the theater operator should specify which form of access and the type of device are available at which theaters. It is necessary at least for now, that the theaters specify which movies are or are not accessible.” “It is critical that at all times of a movie theater’s operation, someone knowledgeable with the technical use and repair of the captioning device be onsite at all times.” “the Department should mandate that theaters, when assisting patrons in the use of any captioning devices, are not allowed to require the retention of credit cards or driver’s licenses or other personal effects as a condition for the patrons’ use of such devices. In addition, any sign up information to procure these devices should be regarded as private and not available for others to view.” “In response to a query, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) stated that the estimated costs were too low because the DOJ did not include in its cost averaging the relatively high-cost glasses that Sony manufactures and Regal uses. We think DOJ’s failure to include those costs is proper. The question DOJ is asking is the minimum cost to comply with the proposed regulations. The fact that some large theaters chains may elect to spend more than the minimum amount does not affect that minimum-cost number.” “The Consumer Groups believe the Department’s use of Census responses vastly understates the number of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.” A Washinton State trial court stated “The issue is not how many patrons have used the technology provided, but rather, whether an individual with a sensory disability has the legal right to have access to the movies when technology is now present to allow that access without impeding on other patrons’ experience and it is feasible for the defendant to provide it.” “We would observe, though, that the caption-viewing devices have other uses, some of which may prove far more profitable than providing English-language captions for people with hearing loss. As the NPRM noted, the devices can display captions in multiple language. We are not aware that any studios are providing foreign-language captions as part of their data packages, but it would certainly be possible for them to do so. Now that display devices are widely available, it would seem attractive to provide foreign-language captions, particularly to reach the rapidly growing Hispanic population.” “Many DeafBlind individuals have some vision and we’ve heard from representatives of the DeafBlind community that some DeafBlind individuals can read open captions but not captions on personal devices. Moreover, many deaf and hard of hearing people would like to be able to enjoy movies with descriptions on a Braille reader. The Consumer Groups urge the Department to consider ways to provide access to DeafBlind people – such as those who enjoy television with captions or using Braille readers connected to the television closed captioning.”

Jennifer Mathis, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force


Commenter is a coalition of national disability organizations. Strongly supports the proposal of NATO et al ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0261 ). “It is striking that national organizations representing individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing have reached agreement with theater owners on a set of positions concerning the issues presented by the proposed rule; these positions deserve great weight in light of the support they enjoy from important stakeholders on both sides. We also note that captioning increases access as well for individuals with certain other disabilities, such as sensory processing disabilities.”

Esther Baruh, National Association of Theatre Owners


NATO Accessibility Survey results of spring 2014 are submitted. About 80% of the respondent screens included closed captioning and audio description. Also submitted is a “Statement of Position.” Theaters are currently voluntarily installing closed captioning and audio description equipment. Since the majority of theaters have installed this equipment, and more are installed every day, a mandatory rule is not required. However, if a rule is adopted, NATO makes these recommendations: Closed captioning and audio description devices be scoped as in the NATO et al joint proposal (minimum number per screen with additional number based on demand with theaters filing annual report with DOJ). Propose that equipment be operational within 6 months of delivery or 2 years of rule effective date, whichever occurs first. Regulation of analog screens should be deferred. Proposed advertising requirements are included in the joint proposal. Similarly, the joint proposal makes recommendations regarding maintenance of equipment and staff training. Regulation of drive-in theaters should be excluded. Theaters are allowed to show movies that do not include captions or audio description. In answer to specific DOJ questions, 3.84% of screens in US were analog as of November 2014. NATO anticipates that analog film prints will be obsolete within 5 years. Based on this, analog theaters will not be viable within a few years. Regulation of analog screens should be deferred. Definition of movie theater is acceptable. Exclusion of drive-in is acceptable. Since there are so few of them, it is unlikely that technology will be developed for them. The implementation schedule should not vary with income, but the undue burden defense should continue to be available. The proposed six month compliance schedule is insufficient and a drastic departure from that proposed in the 2010 ANPRM. It takes time to select a system, additional time for the system to be delivered, additional time for it to be installed (often by a service company with a backlog), and time to train staff. A six month compliance window is unreasonable and, in many cases, impossible to meet. The Joint Recommendation requires equipment to be ordered within 6 months of the effective date of the rule. It is to be installed and operational within 6 months of delivery or 2 years of the effective date of the rule, whichever occurs first. Since the ADA and court decisions indicate that theaters are not required to run open captions, the rules should not mandate any conditions to require open captions. The Joint Recommendation provides a schedule for the minimum number of closed captioning devices, then requires theaters acquire additional devices to have 150% of the actual demand on weekends. “Unfortunately, the Department’s dearth of information regarding the current marketplace, accessibility device availability, and patron usage rates has resulted in an unnecessary and overly burdensome proposed rule. Furthermore, the Department misapplies Census Bureau data in fashioning the scope of its rule.” Only those identified with “severe hearing impairments” should need closed captioning. Others can be served with assistive listening devices. Based on this, the number of closed caption devices would be between 1/36 and 21% of the number of assistive listening devices required. “As with the hearing population, if 68% attend the movies once a year, only 748,000 individuals (0.31%) with a severe hearing difficulty attend the movies annually. Not all Americans attend the movies simultaneously. Even at peak attendance times, all seats in a theatre complex are not full; theatres report average occupancy rates of 11-12%, with about a 30% occupancy rate at peak attendance time. It is therefore incorrect to assume that all those who attend movies including all deaf and hard of hearing individuals attend the movies at the same time.”Movie theatres that have installed CC and AD systems report that demand for the devices rarely, if ever, exceeds the supply, even though theatres stock substantially fewer devices than required by the NPRM. This is true even at times of peak demand.” “NATO is aware of the argument that the reason that CC display devices are not often used is because people don’t know that CC is available and don’t know that almost all films from the major studios come captioned. However, this is not a plausible argument as the availability of CC and AD are widely known and advertised.” Sample usage is provided for several companies. “Forcing exhibitors to invest heavily in first generation technology that may become obsolete will be a waste of resources and will inhibit progress in the technology arena due to the lack of a market to sell such technologies.” “Also, by requiring an excessive device count, the Department will force exhibitors to purchase the least expensive and least liked devices.” Audio description devices should be scoped to 1 device per two screens. NATO agrees with the DOJ that no provision for reserved seating is required. “The rule must recognize that CC and AD systems are part of sophisticated computer systems which occasionally may experience technical difficulties requiring outside repair expertise. Theatres that have reasonably trained staff should not be penalized for system down times provided the theatre operators take responsible steps to bring in offsite or outside expertise to restore system operations.” “Theatre operators have not had significant complaints about the performance properties of systems now in use. There is no need to address performance standard or text size. Even if the Department were to consider these issues, there is no data in the NPRM or the 2010 ANPRM relating to performance standards or type size and to address those issues would require a separate rulemaking notice.” “In addition, mandated standards would cause a tremendous burden on exhibitors by requiring them to dispose of or modify the CC and AD systems they have just purchased and buy new systems.” It took several years to arrive at the current standards. New standards would take several more years. “There is no basis for changing the current text size or CC and AD voluntary industry standards.” According to the Joint Recommendations, “devices must be available, clean and functional when requested by a patron. Ensuring that a device is functional means that the device operates consistent with the manufacturer’s design.” Cost of providing notice (advertising) is not “de minimus”. “requiring notice in every place that show times are displayed or recorded is estimated to cost the industry millions of dollars annually. Among the expenses theatres will face are investments in software upgrades; purchase of new signage on an ongoing basis; purchase of digital display assets; and higher costs associated with increased advertising space to accommodate more text.” “Theatre operators should not be penalized if they need to place advertising prior to being told if the film booked will be provided with CC and AD.” “NATO is concerned that the Department’s Initial RA methodology, cost assumptions, and cost estimates do not reflect realities of theatre operations, and thus may underestimate the true costs of compliance with the proposed rule.” “the Department’s projected average number of seats per theatre type were well below what is in the field.” “NATO believes the Department’s projected average initial costs to be well below actual costs. In addition to the seat count miscalculations described above, this is also due to the Department’s omission of Sony Entertainment Access Glasses from the NPRM. The Sony products are discussed in the Initial RA but are given no mention whatsoever in the NPRM.” “The Sony glasses are the captioning display device featured by Regal Cinemas, the largest U.S. theatre operating with over 7,000 screens and therefore must be considered in any cost analysis. Additionally, this omission does not reflect the strides that theatres have made to install the most up-to-date, advanced, and user-friendly equipment.” “It is impossible to put a dollar figure on the societal benefits of the proposed rule. Theatres have chosen to install these systems not just to increase ticket sales, but to create an environment of inclusiveness and ensure that every person desiring to see a movie on the silver screen can do so.

John W. Egan, American Multi-Cinema, Inc.


Commenter operates 343 theaters with 4,977 screens. 99.5% of screens are digital. 90% of theaters have closed captioning and audio description on most of their screens. The average theater has 14 screens with 185 seats per screen, 10 captioning devices, and 15 audio description devices. Higher of devices are present where demand is higher. Commenter is a member of NATO and fully supports the Joint Recommendations. Most of the comments provide additional support for the NATO et al Joint Recommendations. “The department's proposed scoping for captioning devices is not supported by census data.” Scoping of closed captioning devices should have only considered those with “severe” hearing impairments. Those with non-severe can probably be served with existing assistive listening systems. Use of “severe” would limit the captioning requirements to 0.5% of the U.S. Population. The older portion of the population that is more likely to suffer hearing loss is less likely to attend movies. Americans over 40 are 48% of the population but only 30% of movie ticket sales. “Because the empirical data shows that Americans age 40 or older are much less likely to go to the movies, the Department’s assumption that there will be a higher demand for captioning devices because Americans age 40 and over will constitute a greater percentage of the population in future years is questionable at best.” “The Department’s proposal to base captioning device scoping on the number of total seats in a theatre is also flawed because it assumes, incorrectly, that every seat in the house is occupied at all times.” “For example, during the busiest time of the week (“first prime” on Saturday evenings), AMC theatres have an average occupancy rate of 35%-45%. The Department’s assumption that movie theatre seating is at or near capacity on any given day is yet another reason why the proposed scoping requirements will grossly exceed actual demand.” “AMC strongly urges the Department to adopt the scoping proposal for captioning devices set forth in the Joint Recommendations. However, if the Department rejects this proposal, then it should adopt a scoping requirement that more accurately reflects the number of persons who require captioning equipment.” “the most that the Department could increase the scoping is to .75%.” “The Department should not include performance standards for captioning devices in the Final Rule because they are vague and subjective. These standards also erroneously presume that captioning and audio description equipment is “plug and play,” which is inconsistent with AMC’s substantial experience with these assistive technologies.” “The Department proposes to require theatres to provide captioning devices to patrons in a “timely manner,” and to ensure that they be “easily usable by the patron.”” “There is no objective definition of what the terms “timely,” “quickly,” or “easily usable” mean.” “AMC concurs in the Joint Recommendations’ proposal that if a theatre operator is adhering to a routine maintenance schedule and protocol, then the occasional unavailability of or delay in providing devices should not be a violation of the ADA because these technologies are complicated and not always reliable.” “The Department’s proposed readability and clarity requirements for captioning devices should not be included in the Final Rule because they are vague, subjective, outside the control of exhibitors, and unnecessary. As discussed in NATO’s comments, specific standards for text size and clarity cannot be part of the Final Rule because none have been proposed for public comment. However, vague requirements should not be adopted just because specific standards cannot be adopted at this time.” “The Department is proposing that theatres with digital screens must comply with the new regulations within six months of the publication of the Final Rule. This timeframe is not workable based on AMC’s experience with procuring captioning and audio description equipment. AMC also requires additional time to conduct the necessary employee training. AMC supports the compliance period proposed in the Joint Recommendation.” The department justifies the short implementation schedule on the extensive amount of time since the 2010 ANPRM. However, that has no bearing on how much time exhibitors need to comply since they do not know what is required until the final rule is published and legally binding. The captioning and audio description requirement “should be limited to the box office, ticketing locations, and the theatre operator’s website.” Because theaters may not receive notice as to whether the movie includes closed captioning and audio description, “it is not practicable to require that these early advertisements provide AD/CC notice in every case.” “Audio Description Should be Included in the Definition of Auxiliary Aids or Services in the Existing Regulations.” The commenter supports several proposed rules in the NPRM including: Theaters are allowed to show movies that are not produced with captions. Open captions should never be required for compliance. Reserved seats are not required.

Suzy Rosen Singleton


Commenter is deaf and is an attorney for the California Center for Law and the Deaf, and for the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). “I unconditionally support the comments of Michael Schwartz, and the comments of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).” “Open captioning is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Department must revise the proposed rules to mandate open captioning.” “Legislative history that says movie theaters are not required to show “open” captioned films also recognized that new technology may make some accommodations possible and required someday, and that day has come.” “As John Waldo, Esq., confirmed in his published Law Review article, the Ninth Circuit (in the Harkins case) had hinted that if Department updates its regulations, open captioning could be required.” “There is overwhelming data showing that viewers prefer open captioning, that individual captioning equipment are ineffective, and that there is absolutely no data to prove open captioning is detrimental to the industry.” “The ADA would have never passed and be successfully implemented if the public was allowed to dictate and prohibit what they consider to be distracting.” In a survey with 25,039 participants, 96% preferred open captions. “Individual captioning devices are ineffective.” “They inflict pain (such as my neck and back which had to remain immobile for the duration of the movie), they don’t always work, they segregate and stigmatize the viewers, and they are simply contrary to the spirit of the ADA.” “Delete the language in proposed 36.303(g)(2)(ii) that says open captioning is “never required”. Because the language is clearly contrary to the spirit of the ADA, this language must be deleted.” “open captioning is significantly less expensive than closed captioning, and theaters claiming that closed captioning constitutes an undue burden should be forced to provide open captioning. There is absolutely nothing convincing in the record to decree otherwise.” “If the Department insists on closed captioning as the only option, it should mandate that all movies be closed captioned, regardless of whether or not captioning versions are available from the movie studios or distributors.” “There’s a 100% mandate for video programming to be captioned on TV, with a few exceptions. Movie theaters need to be under the same obligation.” “Drive-in theaters should be included in the scope of the definition of the term “movie theater”.Contrary to other comments, the technology exists to offer closed captions in drive-in movies through iPads or similar evolving technology. “In light of the civil rights at stake, the number of existing facilities should not drive the reason to exclude such a venue.” “Analog movie theaters should be required to caption their movies within 2 years.” “The Department says in the NRPM that some analog movie theaters are here to stay. In that case, the Department must specify a definite end date to the captioning exemption for analog theaters. A potentially indefinite exemption would be inherently unfair and unreasonable given evolving technology and rapidly decreasing expenses incurred by captioning.” “If closed captioning devices must be used, performance standards should be revised to 1) require reserved seats if needed, and 2) remove the ambiguous terms “or near” the screen as a standard for caption placement. Further, performance standards should adopt captioning best practices by defining and requiring quality captions with regard to placement, synchronicity, accuracy, and completeness.” “Reserved Seats. Similar to an auditorium or stadium, reserved seats can ensure optimal access since individual captioning devices are so unreliable.” “Captions should be viewed as if they are on the screen, not if they are “near” the screen. The word “near” is subject to interpretation and confusion.” “The Department may want to review these captioning quality standards as spelled out in 47 C.F.R. §79.1, and include them as requirements for performance standards.” “Small businesses should not have different compliance schedule or obligations. The ADA already makes available the undue burden defense should this be the case for an individual entity. The Department should allow for a process for petitioners to request exemptions from this rule under such grounds, similar to that of the FCC for TV and IP captioning exemptions. Such undue burden petition procedures should require a transparent review comparing the cost of captioning with the entity’s financial resources and other factors. Open captioning must be considered as one solution to those who claim captioning costs are economically burdensome for reasons stated above. See 47 C.F.R. §79.1(f) and §79.4(d) for samples of exemption petition procedures.

Anonymous Anonymous


The Department fails to see the broad implications the new rule will impose on the cost of going to movie theaters. Theaters will be forced to increase ticket prices due to the cost of the mandatory accommodations, and consumers may seek cheaper alternatives to theaters. The proposed rule will further harm the industry by forcing out of business the smaller theaters that focus on filmmaking as an art. “Additionally, the benefits of the proposed accommodation are de minlmis and impractical. People with hearing and visual impairments by definition don't frequent movie theaters, much like physically handicapped people don't usually go to the park. Supplying people with headphones so they can hear is one thing, but asking them to read subtitles on a screen at their seat and watch the main screen at the same time is ludicrous. Movie theaters have been accommodating patrons with visual and hearing impairments on a volunteer basis and should continue to be able to do so.” “A proposed four-year grace period for these small analog theaters would only delay the inevitable, as they simply cannot afford the expense of mandatory accommodation.” “This proposed rule effectively rubs out the dying art of filmmaking. Our government should be looking for ways to protect these theaters and the films they showcase, not force their hand into showing bigger and better explosions.” Regarding Descriptive Audio, “What's problematic about this accommodation is that the listener is trying to hear the descriptions coming from their headset while blocking out the noise from the actual movie that's blaring throughout the theater.” Regarding Closed Captions, “This asks people to read the subtitles on the small screen while watching the movie on the big screen. It's simply impractical to watch two screens at the same time and get anything close to an enjoyable experience. Maybe technology one day will provide people with an easier way to benefit from subtitles, like a pair of glasses that allows people to see subtitles on the screen that people without glasses can't see. But for right now, It's probably too annoying to ask people to dart back and forth between screens in order to understand a movie, and they're probably just going to wait until the movie comes out on DVD and watch it with subtitles on at home.” “Di Minimis Benefits - The Department of Justice admits that the benefits of this proposed rule are hard to quantify, mainly because it doesn't have any statistics on how many people with visual and hearing impairments actually go to movie theaters. It's possible that people aren't using the accommodations, or won't use them even if they become more widespread. Do we really want to force movie theaters into paying the expense of accommodating people that won't even use the service? Due to the substantial cost to movie theaters, it's premature to require theaters to upgrade without knowing whether the upgrades will be used. The Department of Justice has asked for comments and data submissions, and should reassess the viability of the rule once the comment period ends and the data has been collected and analyzed.” “The ADA is an important piece of legislation that protects people from discrimination who deserve that protection. People with visual and hearing impairments make up a sizable portion of our population, and that number will grow as the babyboomers age. Some of these people undoubtedly grew up with movies playing a big part of their lives. But as we age, our bodies begin to break down. Most 60-year-olds don't play basketball with their friends anymore, they play golf. And the government doesn't require our parks to have lighter basketballs or shorter courts and baskets, because we understand that not everyone is able to enjoy the game of basketball. The same can be said for movies.” “Currently, movie theaters provide accommodations as they see fit, and the government should continue to allow this practice, in order to preserve the industry and its cultural significance to our society.”

Dione Smith


Once again you are trying to shut down a small town business by requiring a small town theater to install captioning and audio description equipment in every movie auditorium in the country. Having formerly owned a small town theater in 2 different towns, this would have put me out of business. In one town we had audio equipment and in l 0 years it was only given out in two or three times. There are so many other venues for those disable persons to view movies that going to a theater is not what they choose. The theater business is on the down hill skids anyway and this will give it the death knell. A small town theater is a center for much that goes on in town but if you put it out of business it can mean the whole town goes down. Think again what you are doing.”

Patrick Cannon


The implementation of this rule would go a long way toward keeping the promise of the ADA to promote the full integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of our society and, undoubtedly, going to the movies is a quintessential American experience which has been too-long denied to us.” Analog screens should be required to have audio description and closed captioning within four years of the effective date of the rule. “Because theater operators can choose adaptable listening devices that can serve both hearing impaired and visually impaired individuals the costs for acquiring and maintaining such devices is affectively reduced and therefore, I support scoping requirements to be based on theater/auditorium seating capacity.” “I enthusiastically suppott the proposed rule provision that would require movie theaters to provide notice to patrons about the availability of closed-captioned and audio-described movies in the same advertisements that they provide to inform patrons of movie showings and times.” “I applaud the fact that the proposed rule sets forth requirements that at all times when captioned and audio-described movies are shown at a theater, the facility must have staff available who can locate and operate the equipment and communicate with patrons about the use of the equipment.”

John Bilsborough, National Amusements


Commenter has operated theaters for over 70 years and has 400 screens in 30 theaters. All U.S. screens are digital. Has invested significant amounts in closed captioning and descriptive audio. Cannot support the proposed captioning device scoping requirement at 2% of seats. Over the past 12 months, in about 50 auditoriums equipped with closed captioning, there were about 2,000 instances of device usage. This corresponds to .01% of seating capacity. “The number of devices required by the Proposed Rule is dramatically larger than the actual need in the market.” “Our initial cost of hardware acquisition and installation alone (not including the ongoing cost of repair and replacement) would be over one 1nillion dollars. Despite the financial hardship, if that number of devices was necessary to accommodate our hearing impaired patrons, we would support the Proposed Rule. Because experience shows that no where near that number of devices is required, we oppose the Proposed Rule as being unnecessarily burdensome.” “As is the case in many industries, developing technologies in the theatre exhibition business are moving faster than ever before. Like many theatre owners, we strive to perpetually update and modernize all available technologies. The passage of this bill in its current form would force theatre owners to invest in systems that will never be utilized. The result of this will be that, burdened by the cost of that overstock, theatre owners will keep an older and outdated technology, rather than adopt newer and enhanced technologies as they become available.”

Anonymous Anonymous, Arizona Attorney General's Office


Comments describe litigation and settlements to provide audio description and closed captioning in Arizona. “The Arizona Attorney General’s Office supports issuing these regulations and requiring movie theaters that have converted to exhibiting digital movies to provide access to captioned and described movies for 100% of their showings, to take necessary steps to provide staff that is familiar with the equipment, and to provide notice of the availability of the auxiliary aids and services.” Comments suggest adding a definition of “consumer demand of captioning devices.” Suggested definition of movie theater removes exception for drive-in. Agrees with NATO et al recommendations on caption device scoping. Within 3 months of rule effective date, theaters are to determine closed captioning average weekend device demand and reallocate or order additional units as required to meet this 150%. Demand shall be tracked and recalculated every six months. Required additional units are to be ordered within 30 days of the end of the tracking period. “A movie theater should take steps to consult with its customers and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and organizations serving these communities whenever there have been advances in technology or the movie theater is investing in new, or replacement, captioning devices. Based on this consultation, the movie theater should take reasonable steps to determine the type of device that allows its customers who are deaf or hard of hearing to have as similar an experience as possible to its non-disabled customers, based on available technology.” Captioning devices must “Be adjustable so that the captions can be viewed as if they are on the movie screen and the font size and color of the captioning can be adjusted;” “In order to provide effective communication, individual audio listening devices must: (1) Be available to patrons in a timely manner; (2) Provide audible, non-static sound; and (3) Be properly maintained and be easily usable by the patron.” All theaters (including analog and drive-in) are to comply within months of the effective date of the rule. The notice requirements of the NPRM are modified to add “mobile applications” to the list of methods of notice. The requirements should apply to all theaters including analog. Analog theaters may purchase Rear Window equipment on the secondary market or may run open captions. “Ultimately, as for digital theaters, analog theaters are places of public accommodation that should provide accessible showings if that provision does not create an undue burden. To the extent that captioning does create an undue burden for analog theaters, the theaters can present that burden as an excuse to be excluded from the proposed rules. There is no reason to have different compliance dates for analog and digital theaters.” The rules should apply to non-profit theaters. They may seek an individual undue burden exemption. “Allowing non-profit movie theaters to be treated differently than for-profit theaters sets a dangerous precedent that non-profits of other types may demand similar exemptions.” Drive-in theaters are places of pulbic accommodation and should be subject to the same ADA requirements. “A showing of undue burden should be required before any drive-in theater is exempted. Open captioning and innovative forms of closed captioning are feasible options for drive-in theaters that are digital. Even analog drive-in theaters should explore other options for the use of captioning rather than be considered exempt from the ADA.” “A regulation that interprets Title III’s requirement that movie theaters do not include drive in movie theaters or analog movie theaters for the purposes of the auxiliary aids and services provision is not a reasonable interpretation of the Title III of the ADA.” “The Supreme Court has rejected statutory interpretations that added exceptions to the ADA’s broad coverage where no such limitations appeared in its text.” “In addition, the DOJ should make it clear that it is not exempting other public accommodations that show movies, such as museums or amusement parks, from the obligation to furnish auxiliary aids and services.” Recommends that minimums and demand-based scoping similar to that proposed by NATO et al be adopted. “Closed captioning devices should include the ability to adjust text size and color to allow deaf and hard of hearing individuals who have vision challenges to suit their individual needs and improve readability.” “Movie theaters should be encouraged to (1) have available more than one type of individual captioning device to address the discomfort caused by these devices in some cases, (2) keep pace with advances in technology in the development of individual captioning devices, and (3) consult with customers and deaf and hard of hearing consumer groups to evaluate and test options based on advances in technology when replacing existing captioning devices” “supports the provision in the proposed regulation that movie theaters provide notice for each movie that is exhibited with these features.”

Christine Griffin


Commenter is the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston MA. “support the Joint Recommendations to the Department of Justice submitted by Alexander Graham Bell Association (A. G. Bell), Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), National Association of the Deaf (NAD), and National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) on November 21, 2014.” “We would seek to clarify that in addition to the minimum number of captioned display units suggested by the Joint Recommendations that there must always be at least one back up operational unit at all times.” “Additionally, theater operators should post information about the closed captioning display units and audio description movie information at or near the box office. This information should include an explanation of how closed captioning and audio description devices work, how to obtain and use the devices, and what showtimes the devices are available for. Printed instructional information must be made available for deaf and hard of hearing patrons on how the closed captioned display units work, in addition to trained staff who can explain the units’ functionality as necessary.” “There must be at least one staff member on-site at all times who knows how to operate the closed captioning display units as well as the audio description units. The designated staff member(s) must also be able to perform routine trouble-shooting, be able to provide replacement devices as needed, and be available to help deaf, hard of hearing, or vision-limited patrons as needed if there is device failure during a screening. All equipment must be adequately maintained and checked for functionality and cleanliness frequently.”

Jack Wagner, Southern Theatres LLC


Commenter operates 452 screens in 40 locations. “We fully support the intent of the proposed rule and have already installed "closed captioning (CC) and audio description (AD)" equipment in 50% of our screens with the transmission equipment for the remaining screens on order and scheduled for installation in early 2015.” “We do however disagree with the number of closed captioning devices and assisted listening devices required in the proposal. In our most recent 60 day survey of usage of the devices in our equipped locations the demand is far less than the proposed quantity required. At present the average number of CC devices utilized at any one time is only 2 with a one-time maximum usage in one location of 6. The average number of AD devices is 2 and the average number of ALD devices is 2. We have many presentations that have 0 utilization of the equipment.” “Our recommendation would be to require all digital screens in a theatre complex to be equipped with CC and AD systems. The number of display units and listening devices required would be reduced based on our experienced demand and set the minimum quantity for AD and ALO devices at 1 per screen and CC devices at 50% of a location's screen count. Our facilities range in screen count from 4 to 18 so in all cases this would more than cover the current demand. The facility would then monitor usage and based on requests by theatre guests would increase the number of available devices based on actual requests. The number of devices would be adjusted biannually to provide a minimum of 150% of the average requests for the prior 6 month period.” “Requirements should be based on realized need not on unsubstantiated estimates.

MariLyn Piepho


Comments include copy of comments filed by American Council for the Blind ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0259 ). Additional comments: “Having a way, well before the movie begins, to determine whether the receiver is working and programmed correctly is essential. My experience has evidenced wrong programming more than half the time I have attended a movie.” “There have been many times attendance for a movie was blocked due to repetitive broken equipment and equipment out for repairs. There needs to be some accountability for theaters failing to maintain equipment especially when the problem persists at the same theater or theater chain.” “Getting audio description via phone causes the person with visual impairment to incur an significant expense, the I-phone device expense plus $50 to $100 a month, when the person may not otherwise desire or need such a device with the monthly fee.”

John Waldo, Association of Late Deafened Adults, Washington State Communication Access Project


Comments duplicate those of Andrew Phillips, National Association of the Deaf ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0398 ).

Keith Gurgui, Resource Center for Accessible Living


The Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL) is an Independent living Center (ILC) located in Kingston, New York that has been serving individuals with disabilities for over 30 years.” “ RCAL encourages the Department of Justice to move forward with its proposal to “explicitly require movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed captioning and audio description at all times and for all showings whenever movies are produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with captioning and audio description unless to do so would result in an undue burden or fundamental alteration.” We also believe a six-month compliance window is more than adequate for the theaters to implement universal captioning. In regards to analog screens, our knowledge and expertise are limited to the effort necessary to complete such a task and would defer any judgment on the four-year compliance window. When seeking to require captioning in all movie theaters we recommend conducting an analysis that involves individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing as well as those with visual impairments to find the most efficient and universal characteristics that can be applied across all theaters (including font size, color, and location of subtitles relative to the screen as well as setting minimum requirements in proportion to theater and occupancy size for numbers of individual captioning and audio devices required to be made available).”

Stephanie Woodward, Center for Disability Rights, Inc.


At present, the widespread movie theater practice of closed-captioning movies, though compliant with regulations, denies Deaf and hard of hearing Americans from fully participating in a traditional and important American pastime.” “The proposed off-screen captioning options that the DOJ is considering in this proposed rule do not promote full equality, full civil rights, and full participation in public, social, and cultural life for Deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers. In focusing solely on off-screen captioning, the DOJ not only contradicts President Bush and the intent of the ADA, it also contradicts its own assertion that Deaf and hard of hearing movie goers have a right to participate fully in social, cultural, and civil life in their communities and in America.” “CLOSED CAPTIONING SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED BECAUSE IT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST PEOPLE ON THE BASIS OF THEIR DISABILITY - Off-screen captioning devices currently provided to theater patrons who need captioning are not effective because they do not consistently work. Furthermore, the devices are not comfortable, are not always available, and, even when they are available and functioning, single out individuals with hearing disabilities.” “THE USE OFOPEN-CAPTIONING SOLVES ANY FINANCIAL PROBLEM FOR THEATER OWNERS AS SPELLED OUT IN THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED RULE CHANGE. Major movie theater corporations have already converted to digital movie distribution and projection, which, as the DOJ notes, embeds captioning data into the digital movie “print” and includes it in the projector. Therefore the equipment for an inclusive, effective accommodation is already installed at many theaters.” “Theaters that still show analog films only need a Cinema Subtitling System and DLP Projector. The cost of this system is about equal to the cost of one off-screen captioning device, whether it be captioning glasses or rear window captioning apparatus. Theaters can purchase a single device that accommodates one individual, or for the same price they can purchase a machine that provides on-screen captioning to the entire theater.” “RECOMMENDATION: THE DOJ RULE CHANGES SHOULD INCLUDE OPEN CAPTIONING CAPABILITY IN ALLMOVIE THEATERS. The DOJ should require all movie theaters make on-screen open-captioning available, without condition, on the request of any patron. This will allow theaters to continue to use off-screen captioning while at the same time protecting the rights of Deaf and hard of hearing moviegoers to fully participate in public, social, and cultural life.”

Lee Craner


Commenter operates 81 screens in 7 digital theaters. Provides closed and open captioning and audio description in all its theaters. The proposed rules, however, would represent a substantial financial burden with out any benefit to the hearing or visually impaired customers. The DOJ calculation of required closed captioning devices does not consider “I. There are far more theatre seats than customers filling those seats. 2. Not all auditoria in a theatre are in use at the same time. 3. The age demographic of those most likely to need assistive devices does not coincide with the age demographic of those most likely to attend a movie.” “supports the Department's efforts to ensure the availability of captioning and audio descriptions at digitally equipped movie theatres, it recommends that the Department substantially reduce the number of closed captioning devices required by its mies to a level more in keeping with customer needs.” Comments include tables showing captioning and audio description capabilities of each theater. Includes table showing the number of closed caption and descriptive audio devices requested each week for each theater along with the number of seats. Adequately serves needs even though quantities are substantially below those proposed. Devices were always available when requested. A couple other issues did occur, however. Infrequently, a request for captioning was received for an auditorium that did not have captioning installed. The second infrequent issue is that the film itself did not include closed captions. Audio description is more rare than captioning on the films, but requests for audio description are also rare, so there were no complaints regarding lack of audio description. Though inventory on hand serves the needs of the communities, the DOJ requirements are three times the existing number of closed captioning devices. “Brenden Theatre Corporation respectfully recommends to the Department: I. The proposed number of closed caption devices for theatres of 301 seats or more be reduced by a factor of 70% (e.g. a 2000 seat movie theatre should be required to have eight devices). 2. Theatres of 300 seats or less should be exempt from the proposed rules. Though this does not affect our operations, we believe that the future of these smaller one and two screen theatres in rural areas would be in jeopardy if required to comply. 3. The Department defers any rule making concerning drive in theatres, as it has proposed. 4. The Department includes analog theatres along with drive in theatres in its rule making deferral. The practicalities of the industry will relegate the remaining analog theatres to showing retrospective 35mm films, films that will rarely have closed captioning or audio descriptions available. To require these theatres to comply with the proposed rnle will only serve to reduce the number of theatres showing historic 35mm films.”

Barry Taylor, Equip for Equality


Commenter is independent nonprofit organization designated by the Illinois governor to administer the federal Protection and Advocacy System. Due to consistent complaints from the blind, deaf, and hard of hearing about lack of access to movie theaters, filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney General in 2007 (a copy of the complaint is included with this filing). A copy of the settlement with AMC is included in this filing. It calls for all AMC theaters in Illinois to have captioning and audio description by 2014. Commenter continues to get complaints about non-AMC theaters. “As for the specific questions raised in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we adopt the comments filed by National Association of the Deaf.” ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0399 ).

Brian Mitchell, Mitchell Theatres


Commenter owns 100 screens in 13 locations. At commenter's 8 screen theater (1,017 seats), there are 8 pairs of assistive listening headphones. At most, 4 have been checked out at any one time. In a 680 seat theater, they have two caption receivers. This has never been insufficient. The DOJ's proposed quantities are wasteful. Includes email exchange with customer happy with closed captioning.

Michael Stein


Comments of the students of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester NY. Comments include survey results from the students and papers from a class entitled “Science, Technology, and Values.” The survey questions show how many deaf/hard of hearing people are in a group when they go to the movies, which can supply some guidance on captioning equipment requirements. Second, the survey asks where the participants attend movies (all over the U.S.). Asks about any problems experienced with closed captioning equipment. Asks what the survey participant feels is important for the DOJ to know. A summary of responses follows.

Group sizes were: 7, 2-10, 3-5, 2-4, ~4, 2-3, 3-6, 150, 4, 1-2, 5-30, 5, 1-3, 6, 5-10, 4-6, 1-4, 30, 6-10, 5 up, 3-4, 20-30, 4-5, 10-30

Problems were: Battery ran out quickly; glasses too heavy and big; hard to use glasses with own glasses; caption sometimes does not show or is blurry; colored text cannot be seen on screen; hurt nose; weak signal when movie starts; quality of devices; color contrast; unclear; doesn't work; color isn't right; sometimes did not show proper captions and required multiple trips until device began working again; uncomfortable with my glasses; disconnects at random times throughout the movie; words not sharp and clear; hassle to carry to seat and back; missed captions; will shut off; not function properly; glasses sometimes die and words are missing; LED stand is harder for me to use because I'm tall and I don't want to sit lower than I already am; erratic failure of displaying the lines that are spoken at that time; always hurt my eyes, nose, and ears; gave me FM-type device which was useless; glasses were flimsy and hard to see clearly; jagged edges typefont; (cup holder device) weight of head kept falling down and wouldn't stay upright; replace the devices; lost the connection; hard to read; not connect; low battery; uncomfortable nose marks; can't move head; don't like to hold device; caption glasses are painful, captions skip out, battery dies; rear view mirror doesn't stay positioned, hassle to adjust and in my way; battery died; captions kept disappearing; didn't fit right, kept falling off; bad connection; it's a hassle; hassle for people who wear glasses; connection tends to drop; glasses are heavy; rear view windows are unstable; battery tends to fall off; hassle of holding all of the things at once; closed caption glasses are extremely uncomfortable; sometimes devices are not synced with the right movie (showing captions for another movie); sometimes captions are delayed or early; sometimes not available for all showings or movies; how to start up device before movie begins – I try to fix it It work ok during the movie; no way to test that devices are working – technician has turned on wrong movie or device just not working; dirty and uncomfortable; color of type matches color in movie making caption unreadable; text is too small; text has dithering making it hard to read; constantly had to adjust to see captions for various reasons; glasses use low resolution output makes it hard to read; No instructions are given – I had to guess how the unit worked; Sometimes there were no glasses; If a unit didn't work, management would not give a refund; I never like the design the caption glasses – When I tilt my head, the subtitles will tilt too; captions drop out; lack of batteries; limited of cc devices; stand with closed captioning was sort of not ok because I struggle with it adjustably and hard time to look at it and screen as back and forth repeatedly; glasses with closed captioning pretty nice and useful but hurt on both ears and was a little bit heavy; captions on sticky screen is a fail due to limited visible areas. Can't be comfortable sitting and the screen blocks the movie screen; glasses cause headache, poor battery; glasses unconfortable over own glasses; out of battery from caption glasses; both glasses and rear view captions are too heavy; tend to forget to return devices;

DOJ should know: preference for open cations (on almost all surveys); we just want to participate in society as much as the normal hearing person; get weird looks when wearing device or glasses; some hearing individuals want open captions to better understand English; it is for deaf or HOH to experience the movies – also should adhere to ADA laws; we should have equal access to the movies and enjoy them even in the spur of the moment; need more resources than what is already offered; we are not getting full experience as hearing people are by having dysfunctional contraptions; dreaded movies with my family as a child, still have bad experiences with technological advances, open captions would be amazing even if limited to great times; had to keep moving my head so I could see the captions because the letters weren't bold, they were transparent. I had to move them to the darkest color to see the words; I frustrated with device of closed caption because it is often shut down or other problem at all time; not enjoyable as it should be – devices can be distracting / a burden; It was terrible – All deaf people not pleasant with watching movies – We also felt like we needed something to label ourselves as animals; quality and availability of closed captions needs to be improved; better standards on captioning – the captions appear and don't complement the action; I theorize that if captioning was done well, hearing people would not object to it; need to hire design people who understand placement of type to make good captions; experience has been horrible; they should try it on themselves – Why not become universal design?

Summary of student papers (many of the papers bring up the same issues raised above, so they may not be repeated here): Don't like being outcast by carrying closed caption device through crowd. Need to improve technology (not a half pound of glasses that make your ears and nose sore half way through the movie). Should require open captions with one hour notice. “I do understand that tickets sold much less if caption are provided on screen but it’s not the point. The point is we the people have right to be comfortable at anywhere we want to be at.” Required device number should be proportional to seats and number of HOH and deaf in area. Deaf people tend to attend movies in groups, so the proposed number of caption devices is too low. Milina Cuffy's paper provides a method of calculating the number of required devices based on the number of deaf people in a city. People who are color blind cannot read the captions. It should be possible to change the text color. Patrons should have a choice of device types (glasses or other). If a theater does not have enough captioning devices to meet current demand, it should run open captions. Analog screens should have captions within two years. Theaters should have two or three rooms with open captions. Provide captioning devices for more than half all the seats in a theater The more devices, the less problems the deaf will have with them (bad batteries, wobbly device, lagging captions, etc.) or provide open captions if more than 10 deaf people are going to the same movie. A theater in Rochester NY should have 18,000 devices based on the deaf population. Analog screens should comply within 6 months, and the government should subsidize the cost of equipment. The caption glasses text is too thin. Green text is hard to read against bright movie screen. Text is only clear when outside movie screen. Glasses power box does not have secure connection so it comes lose during movie. The signal cannot get to the power box when the box is on the customer's lap. Theater employees need to be trained to fix problems. The theater should provide instructions about where to place the power box for best reception. Glasses should allow text to be readable when superimposed over movie screen. Analog movie screens should comply within two or three months. Analog screens should comply in six t ten months and movie companies should finance the required equipment.

Brenda Renee Henige


Commenter is blind and describes positive experiences attending movies with her family. Includes a copy of the comments of the American Council for the Blind ( DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0259)

Steph Buell, Wisconsin Association of the Deaf


The Wisconsin Association of the Deaf established a Movie Captioning Accessibility Committee. The committee conducted a survey of the experiences of deaf and hard of hearing with movie closed captioning. There were 25,028 responses from across the country. 95% preferred open captions. 97% had never been asked by a movie theater or manufacturer as to how the product could be improved. Describes the 5 step process a hearing individual goes through to see a movie and the 14 step process a non-hearing individual may go through. Lists some issues with closed captions revealed by the survey. “The committee also observed devices mentioned above were installed in movie theaters without consultation with deaf and hard of hearing movie-goers. No wonder they are poorly designed!” Comments include survey results (very thorough series of questions).

Juliet Goodfriend


Survey results from the Art House Convergence. Survey of 129 independent art house theaters reveals that assistive listening devices (headphones) are available for 60% of the screens, on average, one ALD serves 62 seats. 13% of the theaters have descriptive audio. 1% have caption glasses, and 9% have cupholder screens. On average, each captioning device serves 132 seats.

Survey results of 20,835 art house attendees reveals that 4.7% of them have a hearing or vision impairment. Half of those use an assistance device. 31.6% of them use earphone devices. 12% used closed caption devices. 70% were not sure if their preferred theater offered such devices suggesting a need for better advertisement. 6.5% report being denied a device for any reason. This suggests that the supply of devices in these theaters meets demand. These survey results demonstrate that the proposed scoping requirements far exceed the requirements of the audiences attending art house theaters. Those audiences consist disproportionately of those over the age of 55 among whom the hearing and vision aids is greatest. Survey data is attached to the filing.

Mary Ann Frank, Tivoli Enterprises, Inc. / Classic Cinemas


Commenter operates 104 screens in 13 theaters. Describes DOJ's proposed quantities as excessive. In their 3,060 seat theater, proposed rules would require 34 captioning devices. The current inventory of 4 has never resulted in a shortage.

Charles B. Moss, III, Bow Tie Cinemas


Commenter operates 354 screens at 55 theaters. “It is Bow Tie's strong belief that the industry-wide initiative to provide greater accessibility in movie theaters, in which Bow Tie is an enthusiastic participant, has eliminated the need for a mandatory rule.” Bow Tie has provided CC devices in its theaters based on approximately 0.37% of the seat count in each theater, with a 6-device minimum per theater, and 2 AD devices per screen. This has resulted in an average of 7 CC devices and 13 AD devices per theater. Bow Tie's usage data since January 1, 2014, reflecting the total number of CC and AD devices requested at each theater location on each day in 2014, illustrate that at no time has any Bow Tie theater location experienced demand for devices higher than their supply. 1 Bow Tie has been tracking the usage of these devices and prominently advertising their availability in its theaters, and the demand for the devices has never exceeded their availability at any Bow Tie theater location.

Name withheld at the commenter’s request


Reason Restricted: This attachment is restricted to show metadata only because it contains confidential business information data. Agency Notes: Department of Justice notation for rulemaking docket DOJ-CRT-2014-0004. The Confidential Business Information of this commenter was withheld at the commenter's request.

David Corwin, Metropolitan Theatres


Supports proposal but scoping requirement is excessive. Promotes the availability of closed captioning and has never been short of units. Supports proposal by NATO and Hearing Associations.

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