FCC Considers Expanding Rules Governing Closed Captioning Responsibility
On December 15, the FCC released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could potentially expand the responsibility for complying with closed captioning rules. If the FCC decides to expand their rules, video programming producers would share in the responsibility of providing closed captioning for broadcast and web video as well as complying with caption quality standards. Currently, video programming distributors (VPDs) and stations hold the responsibility for compliance.
In February of 2014, the FCC released closed captioning quality standards – the first time any official requirements had been set for closed caption accuracy, synchronicity, completeness, and placement. At the time, they left open for consideration who should hold the responsibility of guaranteeing compliance with the caption quality standards, agreeing with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s statement that “The creation and delivery of good quality captions is not solely within the control of any one entity and often requires coordination and execution among many connected parties in the video delivery chain.”
Proposed Responsibilities for Video Programming Producers
If the FCC does decide that the responsibility for complying with closed captioning requirements should be expanded to video programming producers, there are a number of other questions to be answered. The FCC brings these questions up in their Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeking comment on the following:
- Whether video programmers should be required to file contact information with the FCC for resolution of closed captioning complaints. Further, the FCC questions whether video programmers should be required to provide their contact information publicly on their websites.
- Whether video programmers should be required to file caption quality certifications with the FCC.
- Whether video programmers and programming suppliers should be required to file closed captioning compliance certifications with the FCC.
- Whether VPDs should be required to alert video programmers of their above responsibilities when arranging to carry the programmers’ content.
The FCC is allowing 20 days after publication for comments, and 30 days for reply comments. You can find information about filing comments in their order.