Accessible Media: How to Comply With the New FCC Rules

Captioning for broadcast and internet streaming

On January 12, 2012, the FCC adopted rules requiring captioned programs shown on TV to be captioned when re-shown on the Internet. These rules implement provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA).

The following is an excerpt from fcc.gov:

Background

Closed captioning is the visual display of the audio portion of video programming. Captioning provides access to individuals who are deaf or have hearing loss and is often used in places where it is difficult to hear a TV program, such as restaurants and exercise facilities. On January 12, 2012, the FCC adopted rules requiring captioned programs shown on TV to be captioned when re-shown on the Internet. These rules implement provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA).

Video Programming

  • The new rules cover full-length video programming. Video clips and outtakes are not required to be captioned when shown on the Internet. However, when a captioned TV program is re-shown on the Internet in segments, it must be captioned if substantial portions of the entire program are shown in those segments.
  • Consumer-generated media (e.g., homemade videos) shown on the Internet are not required to be captioned, unless it has been shown on TV with captions.
  • Movies shown on the Internet are not required to be captioned unless they have been shown on TV with captions.

Implementation Schedule for Captioning Internet Video Programming

The following deadlines apply to video programming that a distributor shows for the first time on the Internet (newly added to the distributor’s inventory of Internet video programming):

  • September 30, 2012: Pre-recorded video programming that is not “edited for the Internet” must be captioned on the Internet if it is shown on TV with captions on or after September 30, 2012. “Edited for the Internet” means the TV version has been substantially edited. Examples of editing for this purpose are: deleting scenes or altering musical scores. Changing the number or duration of commercials is not considered “editing” for this purpose.
  • March 30, 2013: Live and near-live video programming must be captioned on the Internet if it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2013. Near-live video programming is defined as programming that is performed and recorded less than 24 hours before being shown on TV for the first time.
  • September 30, 2013: Pre-recorded video programming that is substantially edited for the Internet must be captioned if it is shown on TV with captions on or after September 30, 2013.

Archival Internet Video Programming

The following deadlines apply to video programming that a distributor already shows on the Internet. Distributors have extra time to add captions to video programming that they already show on the Internet and that is later shown on TV with captions, as follows:

  • Within 45 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2014 and before March 30, 2015;
  • Within 30 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2015 and before March 30, 2016; and
  • Within 15 days after the date it is shown on TV with captions on or after March 30, 2016.