National Association of the Deaf

Television on the Internet

The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, now requires 100% of all new, non-exempt English language programs on television to be closed captioned. The law, however, does not apply to television programs that are distributed or redistributed over the Internet.

As a founding member of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technologies (COAT), the NAD is advocating to change this law. First, COAT wants Congress to make clear that programs (live and pre-recorded) that must be captioned for television viewing must also be captioned when distributed over the Internet. Second, new programs provided by or generally comparable to programs provided by a television broadcast station that are distributed over the Internet should be captioned.

These requirements would not apply to every online video. For example, captions would not be required for amateur videos on YouTube. However, these captioning requirements would likely apply to Internet video program distributors (such as Google, AOL, and Yahoo!) and website owners (such as and

In addition, the NAD urges software developers to ensure that computer programs can display captioning. The NAD further encourages all video producers and distributors to caption their online videos.

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