28 September 2011 ~ Comments

Proposed Rules for Internet Captions

Much progress has been made in recent months regarding accessibility and closed captioning of television content on the Internet.  In July, the FCC’s Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee released a report that established a six month timeframe for the new rules that require captions on the Internet.

In short, the FCC must release advanced rules for Internet captioning by January 2012.  All live and near-live programming must have online captions by this same deadline.  A 12 month deadline was also given for edited programming to have captions online by July 2012.

The goal of these deadlines is to ensure that all users can enjoy and benefit from television content played on the Internet.  In fact, the report released this past July states that the “fundamental performance objective is that regardless of how the captioned video is transmitted and decoded, the consumer must be given an experience that is equal to, if not better than, the experience provided as the content was originally aired on television.”

To strive towards this objective, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on September 19, 2011.  Several rules are suggested to help implement the 21st CVAA and these suggestions are currently open to public comment.  Some of the proposed rules include that video programmers must provide the necessary caption files to the video distributor; the programmer and distributor must ensure that captions will be available to the end viewer; and the quality of captioning on video viewed on the Internet must be no less than the quality of captions available when viewing the same video content on a television set.

As the Internet continues to significantly change how people view media, the new rules for Internet captions will play a tremendous role in providing equal access to everyone.  For decades, the FCC has enforced regulations that provide access for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to content via closed captions on the television set.  Thankfully, the FCC’s deadlines and proposed rules are good start to establishing the same access that has been provided on television sets to be available on content viewed on the Internet.

  • DeafRanger

    PAH! Glad finally we will have CCon Inet - and means NetFlix ,mpvies, too!

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