Thursday, June 20, 2013

FCC updates its Captioning Order

The FCC is clarifying its order from last year about captions. The FCC's Report and Order of 2012 came in response to Congress's 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which directed the FCC to establish how and when video programming must be captioned. The rules describe captioning requirements for video owners, providers, and distributors, a compliance schedule, complaint rules; and requirements for manufacturers of devices that are used to view the video programming. These devices have a compliance deadline of January 1, 2014. But now, the Commission says the deadline applies to the manufacture of the devices and not to their "shipment or sale” dates.

The Commission also said the closed captioning rules do not apply to devices “primarily designed for activities other than receiving or playing back video programming transmitted simultaneously with sound.” This would include “digital still cameras, digital video cameras, baby monitors, security cameras, [and] digital video camera microscopes." The FCC says it will decide whether a device has to be able to provide captions based on its purpose--is the display of video programming a primary function of the device or an incidental one?

The FCC also says it is trying to decide whether to put a burden on manufacturers, saying they must ensure their devices will work with closed captioning. In the original order, the Commission say the requirements were on the distributors and programmers. You can read this recent FCC order here.