National Association of the Deaf, et. Al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

DREDF and co-counsel filed a complaint against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf and four individuals to gain equal access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to the videos that the university makes available on the Internet — including courses offered through MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), videos on the MIT Video website, much of which lacks proper captioning.

Although MIT touts the courses “open and available to the world,” in the absence of captions entirely, or accurate captions when captions are provided, the courses are largely inaccessible to the nearly 48 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States alone who rely on captioning for meaningful access. Other videos available on the MIT Video website—which aggregates and curates MIT’s videos of academic content, event records, and features—or MIT’s YouTube channel lack captions or have inaccurate captions.

Plaintiffs filed their class action complaint in the District Court of Massachusetts, charging the university with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by refusing to provide closed captioning on its online content. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief of requiring MIT to caption its online offerings.