Sponsored Links

SiriusXM sued over lack of podcast transcripts for the hard of hearing

Advocacy groups are demanding both compensation and mandatory changes.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18: Brie Bella (L) and Nikki Bella speak to guest Tyler Cameron as they host SiriusXM Stitcher's The Bellas Podcast at SiriusXM Studios on November 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|December 15, 2021 10:35 AM

SiriusXM has been accused of doing too little to make its podcasts accessible. The National Association of the Deaf and Disability Rights Advocates have filed a lawsuit against SiriusXM (including its Pandora and Stitcher brands) accusing it of excluding the deaf and hard of hearing by failing to provide captions or transcripts for any podcasts. The company has allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York laws by denying equal access to its content.

The suit demands both damages and an injunction to force SiriusXM to offer podcast transcripts. The company would also have to "affirmatively" advertise the transcript option to deaf and hard of hearing people.

We've asked SiriusXM for comment. The lawsuit notably doesn't include other heavyweights, although Apple and Spotify already offer at least some form of captioning or transcription. Spotify has promised to auto-transcribe all podcasts, for instance. In a statement to The Verge, DRA's Christina Brandt-Young added the organizations couldn't sue "every bad podcast provider" in a single lawsuit. You may well see more complaints in the future.

Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from Engadget
You can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.
Not now

The lawsuit is, effectively, a request for podcasts service operators to rethink accessibility. NAD and DRA want equal access to be a given, not a nice-to-have extra. In theory, the pressure on SiriusXM will prompt better treatment across the wider podcast industry.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.
SiriusXM sued over lack of podcast transcripts for the hard of hearing