Accessibility Laws

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that any organization receiving federal funds, directly or indirectly, must make their services accessible to people with disabilities.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, Section 508
Section 508 pertains to Internet services procured by federal agencies, such as web applications, web pages, and attached files.  These services must be equally-accessible to people with disabilities. Web pages with videos and audio streams must be captioned.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all services to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The ADA was built upon the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The ADA does not require that an entity receive federal funds.  It is a requirement under the ADA  that reasonable accommodations be made to programs, activities and services except when to do so will cause undue hardship.

The Department of Justice has added text displays, Communication Access Realtime Translation(CART), and opened and closed captioning to the list of appropriate services.

For more information, please see “A Guide to Disability Rights” on the ADA website…

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Different television captioning requirements pertain to new and pre-rule programming.  Exemptions from the captioning requirements apply to both of these types of programming.

  • New Programming: As of January 1, 2006, all new English language programming, defined as analog programming first published or exhibited on or after January 1, 1998, and digital programming first aired on or after July 1, 2002, must be captioned, with some exceptions.
  • Pre-rule Programming: Analog programming first shown before January 1, 1998, and digital programming first shown before July 1, 2002, are called “Pre-Rule Programming.” Pre-Rule Programming that is not exempt from the closed captioning rules must be captioned as follows:
    • January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2011: 30 percent of programming per channel per quarter.
    • January 1, 2008, and thereafter: 75 percent of programming per channel per quarter.

(Source:  FCC website)  For more information, visit the FCC’s website or call the FCC toll-free at 1-888-225-5322 or TTY (1-888-835-5322)


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The CRPD is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. (Definition source:  Wikipedia).

More information about the United Nations Enable program…