As reported by Provost Martin Schmidt in February 2020, MIT settled a lawsuit brought by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and several deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals alleging that MIT was violating two federal laws by failing to accurately caption all of the audio and video content posted publicly online by anyone associated with MIT. As part of the settlement, MIT has committed to provide captioning for the following content:
- Content created or developed by faculty or staff as part of their MIT work that is posted on MIT’s public webpages (within MIT.edu domain) or public third-party platforms (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
- Content created or developed by a Sponsored Student Group as part of the group’s organizational mission that is posted to MIT’s public webpages or on public third-party platforms.
- Events that are live-streamed publicly by Institute Events.
The settlement establishes certain deadlines for MIT to meet different aspects of this captioning commitment:
- New Content: Content posted 60 or more days following the effective date (effective date is July 21, 2020) must be captioned upon posting.
- Existing Content:
- Content posted on or after January 1, 2019, but before the date 60 days after the effective date: Must be captioned (or removed from public view) as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from the effective date. In addition, individual videos and audio files must be captioned within seven business days of a request by an individual member of the public.
- Content posted prior to January 1, 2019: Must be captioned (or removed from public view) within seven business days of a request by an individual member of the public.
- Recordings of Live-Streamed Events: Must be captioned as soon as practicable, but no later than seven business days after posting.
In addition to the captioning commitments, all public MIT.edu webpages and channels managed by faculty or staff must contain links to a new central accessibility page. All webpages that fall within these categories must contain this link within 90 days of the settlement’s effective date.