Podcast platforms

Legal action challenges the inaccessibility of major podcast platforms

NAD and five Deaf Americans who each wish to use but are excluded from the defendants’ podcast services have brought this action to end discriminatory business practices by SiriusXM, Stitchers and Pandora.


The National Association of the Deaf (“NAD”) and Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”) have filed a lawsuit against three major podcast providers, SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora, to end their exclusion of deaf and hard of hearing Americans from it. extensive podcast streaming service from every company. Read the complaint here.

Sirius XM is promoting itself as the “New Destination for Original, Exclusive and Popular Podcasts”, providing customers with access to a list of original and third-party podcast content, including exclusive access to podcasts produced by Marvel Entertainment.

Stitcher ranked # 1 in Triton Digital’s Best Podcast Networks report for August 2021, with 451 original podcasts active. Likewise, Pandora’s podcast service provides users with access to hundreds of thousands of podcast episodes. Yet none of these multi-millionaire companies provide transcripts for the plethora of podcasts available on their popular mobile apps.

Because the defendants do not make transcripts or captions available for any of the podcasts offered on their platforms, more than 48 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans are denied the full and equal enjoyment of the content they offer to their families. hearing users. These equal access breaches violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York state and local law.

Man reading on laptop; image by Irina Leoni, via Unsplash.com.

NAD and five Deaf Americans who each wish to use but are excluded from the defendants’ podcast services have brought this action to end discriminatory business practices by SiriusXM, Stitchers and Pandora.

Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO of NAD, said, “Podcasts are the latest form of entertainment, and it is imperative that people who are deaf and hard of hearing are not left behind. SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora have a duty under federal, state, and municipal laws to ensure that their podcasts are fully accessible.

Complainant Mei Nishimoto said, “I want all podcasts to be accessible for myself, because I love to learn, and as a deaf parent with a school-aged child, I have to select what is appropriate for her. age and interests, and advance his education. . “

Plaintiff, Dr Amber Martin, said, “Access to information and entertainment is as interesting and important for people who are deaf and hard of hearing as it is for anyone else. There were a lot of times someone told me about something they heard on a podcast and it piqued my interest, but there was no transcript. It’s disappointing not being able to participate in conversations with friends, but most of all frustrating knowing that I’m deprived of a lot of information that I wish I had.

Complainant Jamie Munro said “Podcasts are now ubiquitous and a wealth of information for everyone except the deaf community. We can no longer be excluded and must have full access to knowledge that is already readily available to everyone. “

Plaintiff Rebecca Alexander said, “Asking for accommodations is not asking to be given information by privilege. Having equal access to information, including from podcasts, is a fundamental civil right. I am also concerned about being excluded from a platform that has important comments from people, including me, due to inaccessibility. “

DRA staff attorney Emily Seelenfreund said: “The utter failure of SiriusXM, Stitcher and Pandora to contemplate access for the deaf and hard of hearing is an embarrassment and an abject violation of federal and local law on disability. “

About the National Association of the Deaf
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a nonprofit organization established in 1880 by deaf and hard of hearing leaders, is the premier national civil rights organization that protects the civil, human and language rights of 48 million people deaf and hard of hearing in the United States.

About disability rights defenders
Founded in 1993, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is a leading national nonprofit disability rights legal center. Its mission is to promote equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with the full spectrum of disabilities in complex system change and class action cases. DRA is proud to have kept the ADA promise since its inception. Thanks to DRA’s unprecedented work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to healthcare, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.


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