Page last updated 12 December 2001
Notice of inquiry
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has received a complaint under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 alleging discrimination by a cinema and cinema chain in lack of provision of subtitles or captions with English language films.
The Disability Discrimination Act makes discrimination unlawful regarding access to services (section 24), except where providing non-discriminatory access would involve unjustifiable hardship.
The Acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner sought submissions to
- assist her and the parties to the complaint to identify options for resolution of the complaint
- assist her to determine whether the power to decline the complaint under section 71 should be exercised (on grounds including that the act complained of is not unlawful or that another more appropriate remedy is reasonably available)
- assist her to decide whether the subject matter is such that it should be referred to the Commission for determination.
In particular submissions were requested on issues affecting the feasibility of implementation in Australian cinemas of the rear window captioning system of closed captioning developed in the United States, or other options for captioning of movies for the benefit of deaf and hearing impaired persons.
Australian Caption Centre
Australian Federation of Deaf Societies
Deafness Council Western Australia
Deafness Council Western Australia additional submission
Deafness Forum of Australia (MS Word file)
National Working Party on Captioning
Personal Captioning Inc
Personal Captioning Inc additional submission
Village Roadshow : PDF or MS Word file
Western Australian Deaf Society
One of the aims of this inquiry is to provide information resources about solutions that improve access. Links will be added here as they become available. Please let us know if there is something you would like to see listed.
1.Motion Picture Access Project
The Motion Picture Access Project (MoPix) of the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a project of the WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts.
MoPix has developed systems that enable movies to be accessible to deaf viewers by the use of closed captions and to blind patrons by the use of descriptive narration.
2.Boston Light and Sound Inc.
BL&S is the systems integrator for the MoPix theatre products. These currently include the Rear Window captioning system for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and products incorporating audio description of visuals for blind patrons. These products have been developed under a grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, a division of the U.S. Department of Education.
3.Digital Theater Systems
DTS, a world leader in digital sound for motion pictures, collaborated with MoPix, Universal Pictures and General Cinema Theatres to premier the first use of River View captioning in a commercial theatre in Sherman Oaks, California on November 17, 1997. U.K. trials scheduled for August 2001.
4. TRIPOD Captioned Films
TRIPOD Captioned Films (TCF) is a non-profit, community outreach project of the TRIPOD Model School Program in Burbank, CA. A Program for Deaf and Hard of hearing children and their families, TRIPOD has received support from the entertainment industry since its inception in 1982. TRIPOD arranges for recently released movies to be shown in open captioned format at select screenings.
4.Movie Access Coalition
The Movie Access Coalition (MAC) represents eleven organizations serving deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The National Association of the Deaf was a founding member of MAC and remains its most active participant. MAC advocates for
having open captioned movies distributed through regular channels. The goal is to have these movies shown in neighbourhood theaters, on a regular basis and at regular times. MAC believes that once movie studios see how many people attend captioned films, they will have an economic incentive to provide these films to theaters.
5.Closed Captioning Web
This Internet site provides useful links to a number of sites dealing with the broader issue of captioning and a discussion of the options for making movie theatre accessible.
6.Australian Cinema Industry
For information about the cinema industry in Australia see:
The Cinema Connection: http://online.socialchange.net.au/tcc/Cinema_Theatres/Australia/index.html
Cinema and Theatre Historical Society Victoria Inc.:
Screen Network Australia: http://www.sna.net.au/