So Sorry, Business World, That People With Special Needs Aren’t Profitable

Last week, a judge ruled that Neflix and other web providers that serve the public are subject to federal disability law. What this means: TV shows and movies streamed online could have to include captions for the hearing impaired.

A complaint had been filed by two associations for the deaf and a staffer at a center for people with disabilities. Netflix had argued that it was exempt from the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Actually, it isn’t, said US District Judge Michael Ponsor. Neflix and similar providers would have to add captioning, and might even someday mean providing a soundtrack to describe what’s happening in a program or movie for the sight-impaired.

Even more mind-boggling to me than the above was the think tank staffer who noted the cost all this would incur. “This forces Netflix to serve markets that it currently doesn’t find profitable,” says Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, in a Boston Globe article.

Actually, this forces Netflix to conform to the law. One that gave equal rights to people with disabilities  in 1990. Captioning online material is an adaptation for technology that didn’t exist back then.

I am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson talk about the high cost of adapting technology, buildings, pools, whatever to people with disabilities. Let’s forget, for a second, that this is the law. It’s the human thing to do; those like my son who have disabilities have the right to live life with access to everything people who aren’t handicapped do.

I tend to think that the Walter Olsons of the world who make such statements don’t have anyone with a disability in their lives. That’s what it often takes for people to understand the idea of equality for all in this country includes people with disabilities.

 

From my other blog:

My child with special needs is not a burden to society

 

Image of man in wheelchair against a flag via Shutterstock

Add a Comment
Back To To The Max
  1. by Tooner

    On June 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    People without disabilities don’t really understand what it’s like to have one. When they say stuff like that it means that they don’t understand. For example, try to get in some wheelchair bathrooms with a wheelchair. It’s sometimes impossible. It’s because the people in the wheelchairs don’t make the bathrooms. My Dad was a building planner for hospitals and he had to use his own personal experience to fight for people with disabilities because people weren’t listening they would just say “that’s good” and move on without actually thinking about it from their experiences.

  2. [...] am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson… the Walter Olsons of the world” [Ellen Seidman, Parents mag] [...]

  3. by Ellen

    On June 29, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Let’s look at it from a crass business perspective. You have an audience that is in need/want of your product and is underserved. What are you going to do? Talk about a great way to open new channels. Just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean they are poor, even tho some days it feels that way. We had a chance with a product to make a change that would make it more appealing for the hearing impaired, and even tho it cost more money, our competitor does not offer it. BOOM. That’s our customer now, if we do it right.

  4. [...] course, there are some who see it differently: I am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson talk about the high cost of adapting [...]

  5. [...] course, there are some who see it differently: I am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson talk about the high cost of adapting [...]

  6. by Lee

    On July 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    “I tend to think that the Walter Olsons of the world who make such statements don’t have anyone with a disability in their lives.”

    This is really a cheap statement that you don’t really believe.

    Are you arguing that most people who are concerned about the negative unintended consequences of the ADA (that ironically hurt people with disabilities) don’t know anyone with a disability?

    Of course not.

  7. by Joe

    On July 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Sorry. But all this will do is put companies out of business, and everyone loses. Shall we shut down youtube next, because they’ll have to caption every video somebody posts?Some sleazy lawyer will be sure to sue to make a buck. The ADA is one of the most reprehensible pieces of legislation ever passed. As the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

  8. by you've got to be kidding!

    On July 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

    so who is supposed to pay the cost of this?! netflix will be forced to give the retards who filed the lawsuits a few million $$$ because they were offended and then spend a few more million $$$ to create subtitles on all the movies they SUPPLY (they don’t make them just rent them the same way they get them from the production companies!!!) and then we, the innocent people who just want to watch a movie, will end up paying $4 for a $1 movie cause some deaf or blind person was too lazy to rent the movie and watch it on their adapted machine at home which was paid for by public financial aid like social security which they didn’t earn in the first place. so you agree with putting netflix (and redbox and anybody else) out of business so nobody can watch a movie cause a few folks were too lazy to watch a movie at home and sued. too selfish for words!

  9. [...] course, there are some who see it differently: I am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson talk about the high cost of adapting [...]

  10. [...] course, there are some who see it differently: I am so sick and tired of hearing people like Olson talk about the high cost of adapting [...]

  11. by Disabled rights roundup - Overlawyered

    On July 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    [...] of hearing people like Olson … the Walter Olsons of the world” writes Ellen Seidman [Parents mag] Don’t let her hear what Eric Goldman [...]

  12. by Peter M

    On July 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

    The Road to Hell is in fact paved with good intentions. Let me state for the record that I wish Netflix streaming had captions as I am hard of hearing. But this case is completely without merit for the reason that you can sign up to Netflix and get the DVDs in the mail which have closed captioning. I am sorry if you want streaming with captions, it’s not available. The problem with society today is that everybody feels entitled. People’s disabilities shouldn’t create problems for those without, and this case will just cause prices to rise or a contraction in the available streaming titles on Netflix. Thanks!

  13. by Alton

    On July 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Ellen:

    You are good hearted but are one of way too many that have a warped understanding of what constitutes a “right” – which is not generally understood, at least constitutionally, as something someone is forced to provide to others.

    The diabled should have no more right to force Netflix to provide captioning than I should have the right to force Parent Magazine to publish gay porn – and you simply cannot dismiss all objectors like Mr. Olsen as not being credible merely because they are not blessed with a disabled child any more than I could dismiss Parent Magzine’s objections to my demand for gay porn because the editors may not know what it is like to be gay.

    It also never ceases to amaze me that some become so narrowly focused on their own pet issues that they actually believe someone has a “right” to technology that did not exist a few years ago. Where do you draw the line Ellen? Hypo: A new drug is invented that will prevent the deaths of millions of newborns infected with disease “X” and can be manufactured and sold immediatly at afforadale prices – but, unfortunatley, the drug is more deadly than disease X to the blind unless substantially modified at 100 times the costs. Is the only “human” thing to do is wait until everyone is willing to pay the 100 times the costs to be certain the blind have “equal” to the miracle drug?

  14. [...] 4: “…those like my son who have disabilities have the right to live life with access to everything…” So, therefore, Netflix is obligated to closed-caption streaming video. And, no, providing [...]