We recently wrote about the FCC’s new rules requiring the captioning of television video retransmitted on the Internet. Those rules have now been published in the Federal Register, which sets the effective dates for the implementation of those rules. The rules become effective on April 30, which means that any video that is broadcast
FCC Overturns Hundreds of TV Closed Captioning Exemptions and Clarifies “Economically Burdensome” Standard in Connection with Captioning Rules
Yesterday, the FCC released an Order that reversed a five-year-old decision by its Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (“CGB” or “Bureau”) that had granted certain video programmers “undue burden” exemptions from the FCC’s closed captioning rules. The reversed Bureau decision had changed the criteria for undue burden exemptions and permanently exempted two video programmers from compliance with the closed captioning rules on the basis of the new criteria. Finding that the Bureau’s new criteria deviated from both the statute and FCC precedent, the Commission overturned the decision, reversed 296 subsequent exemptions that had been granted by the Bureau in reliance thereon, and reinstated the original criteria for captioning exemptions. DWT has just released an advisory that provides more detail about the Commission’s decision, which can be found here. In addition, a copy of the Commission’s Order can be found here.
In overturning the undue burden exemptions CGB approved in 2006, the Commission found numerous faults with both the Bureau’s initial decision and its handling of hundreds of subsequent petitions seeking similar exemptions. Although undue burden exemptions were to be reviewed by the Commission on a case-by-case basis after opportunity for public comment and were to consider four factors: (1) the nature and cost of the closed captions for the programming; (2) the impact on the operation of the provider or program owner; (3) the financial resources of the provider or program owner; and (4) the type of operations of the provider or program owner, the Bureau deviated from previous Commission decisions by expanding the scope of the factors considered. In particular, its decision relied primarily on the non-profit status of programming providers and that the programming was not produced for primarily commercial purposes. Further, the Bureau found captioning programs would constitute a “significant hardship” and that there was a significant risk that mandating captioning would cause the video programming provider to cancel the programming.
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Comment Date Set on FCC Proposals for Internet Video Captioning – Repurposed Video from TV Stations Initial Target of New Rules
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…
FCC Reminder About Making Emergency Information Accessible to People With Hearing or Vision Disabilities
The FCC issued a reminder to all video program distributors – including TV stations, cable systems and satellite television providers – that emergency information must be made accessible to those with hearing or vision disabilities. For those with hearing difficulty, the Commission reminded providers that they must make information available visually as well as aurally – either through closed captioning or some other method that the aurally impaired can understand the nature of the emergency. For the visually impaired, if the emergency information is provided in a crawl or through some other non-verbal manner, there need to be alert tones broadcast identifying that emergency information is being conveyed so that visually impaired viewers can make arrangements to find out what the emergency is. With hurricane season upon us, the Commission wanted to remind video service providers of these obligations.
The Commission also reminded service providers and viewers of the new complaint process, about which we wrote here, that sets up a process for viewers who believe that there has not been proper captioning information provided. This reminder alone should alert broadcasters and other video program providers of the seriousness with which the FCC views these rules.…
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New FCC Rules for Closed Captioning Complaints and Proposals for Captioning of Digital Television Multicast Channels
The FCC has adopted new procedures for the submission of complaints about the failure to adequately provide closed captioning of video programming carried on television stations and cable systems. In the same order, the Commission issued clarifications about the impact of the digital transition on the obligations of stations and networks to caption programming…