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Modified ADA regulations require closed captioning for digital movies at theater

By Mark Iandolo | Dec 1, 2016

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WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Department of Justice announced Nov. 22 that it has modified a regulation under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The revision clarifies a public accommodation’s obligation to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities.


Under the new rule, public accommodations that own, operate or lease movie theaters must provide closed captioning and audio description if they show a digital movie that makes these features available.


“The disability community and movie theater industry provided comprehensive insight on this important regulation,” said principal deputy assistant attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

 “The Justice Department’s regulation establishes a nationally consistent standard and ensures that, in theaters across the country, people with hearing and vision disabilities can fully enjoy watching movies with their families and friends.”


The final rule mandates that theaters maintain the equipment needed to provide individual patrons with closed movie captioning and audio description. Movie theaters will need to make these services known to the general public as well. The rule only focuses on movie theaters that show digital films; those that show analog movies exclusively are exempt from the rule.

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