The dates for comments on the FCC proposed rules for the captioning of Internet Video have been set. Comments are due on October 18 with replies due on October 28. An associated Federal Register publication also notes that comments can be filed with the Office of Management and Budget about the compliance of the information collection requirements contained in the proposed rules with the Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB comments can be submitted through November 28. As we wrote last week, this proceeding is of importance to television stations and cable operators, as the rules will initially apply to video that has already been captioned to meet some other FCC rule, and is later repurposed for the Internet. It is also important to all operators of websites that distribute such video programming. A more detailed summary of the proposals in this proceeding is available in our Davis Wright Tremaine advisory on the NPRM. The full text of the FCC proposals is available here.
This proceeding is on an extremely fast track, as Congress has charged the FCC with adopting rules by January to implement the statutory obligations set out in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. Already, groups representing the hearing impaired as well as certain Internet video aggregators have visited the Commission to lobby for their particular positions on the proposals. Those representing the hearing impaired community have been very active in this proceeding, as well as in connection with the filing of objections to television stations who do not meet their obligations to provide video accessibility through captions or other written information during over-the-air programming providing emergency information (see our note here on an FCC reminder on that subject). TV stations and other video providers need to be similarly active in explaining to the FCC what can and cannot be done technologically in a cost-effective manner to meet the needs of these citizens. The just announced comment deadline provides video producers with that opportunity.