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Rehabilitation Act of 1973: Section 508

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Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998 and the implementing regulations (36 C.F.R. 1194.1 et seq.) issued by the Federal Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) require that electronic and information technology developed, purchased or used by federal agencies and organizations receiving federal funds, including higher education institutions, and those doing business with the government must be accessible for use by persons with disabilities. Section 508 Requirement for transcripts and captions:

The availability of a transcript of audio content satisfies the requirement of the first Section 508 standard formulated by the Access Board.

§1194.22 (a)

A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via “alt”, “longdesc”, or in element content).

Sites with audio content that include transcripts meet the Section 508 standards. The Access Board also interprets this provision [1194.22 (a)] to require that when audio presentations are available on a Web page, because audio is a non-textual element, text in the form of captioning must accompany the audio to allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to comprehend the content.

§1194.22 (b)

Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. Sections 1194.22 (a) and 1194.22 (b)together require that a multimedia presentation have its transcript of the audio synchronized with the presentation with captions.

Video or multimedia products are covered by section 1194.24 (c,d,e) of those regulations. Specifically, streaming media, such as broadcasts and cable signals, as well as online presentations, must correctly receive and display captions. Training and informational video and multimedia productions must contain open or closed captions.