On December 2, 2021, the FCC held a forum on the accessibility of video programming delivered through online platforms (a recording of the event is available on the FCC website, here). What is perhaps most notable about this forum is that it looked at whether the FCC could extend its authority over online platforms to include accessibility obligations which, thus far, have only been implicated when a broadcaster already subject to FCC accessibility obligations repurposes its programs for Internet use (see, for instance, the FCC’s significant fine imposed in a consent decree when Pluto TV, which is owned by Viacom CBS, rebroadcast certain content that had already been broadcast on television with captions). One of the questions identified in the Public Notice announcing the Forum is whether the FCC has the authority to expand accessibility obligations to online platforms.
The seeming importance of the session could be seen from the introductory remarks by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Senator Ed Markey. Senator Markey was one of the proponents of the Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). In his remarks, he discussed the importance of taking the reforms that have been adopted for television programming and extending them to the Internet, given that so much video programming and viewership is now migrating to those platforms.
Continue Reading FCC Forum on Accessibility of Online Video Programming – Looking Beyond the Regulation of Broadcasters