Last week, the FCC adopted rules governing the closed captioning requirements for online video as mandated by 2010’s “Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”).” Here’s the executive summary of what this may mean for our captioning clients.
1) FCC 12-9, III, A, 3, 37: “We will require VPOs (Video Programming Owners) to provide VPDs (Video Programming Distributors) with captions of at least the same quality as the television captions provided for that programming… In evaluating whether the captions are of at least the same quality, the Commission will consider such factors as completeness, placement, accuracy, and timing. ”
BUT: ” we will not hold VPDs or VPOs responsible for quality issues outside of their control such as broadband connection speeds or the constraints of a particular apparatus. ”
As of this writing, YouTube has no mechanism to adjust placement on the left or right of screen, so content owners should be aware of this limitation. (More on this in a minute.) It could be that the commission will not hold VPO’s liable for YouTube’s lack of functionality in this area.
Additionally, note that the standard of comparison is the original, as-broadcast captioning. A broadcaster could reasonably conclude that the safest course of action will be to “dumb-down” the broadcast captioning to match the internet constraints.
2) FCC 12-9, III, A, 4, 41: Basically, if it has aired on television in the USA, it must be captioned when put on the internet.
3) FCC 12-9, III, A, 4, 44: Programming is subject to the ruling and must be captioned if it is presented on the internet “substantially in its entirety” such as a complete movie or an episode of a TV show. In paragraph 48, they emphasize that “video clips” may at a later time be covered under these rules. “Outtakes” qualify as exempt at this time.
4) FCC 12-9, IV, C, 112: Essentially, the internet captioning “experience” must replicate the CEA-708 television experience, so existing implementations (like YouTube) must be expanded to include color, font, transparency and positioning controls similar to the TV standard. This has not yet happened, so it remains to be seen how this will play out. Rest assured that we’ll continue working with YouTube and other distributors to work out the technical details for our clients.
Deadlines for compliance for content owners:
- 6 months: Prerecorded programming that is not edited for Internet distribution.
- 12 months: Live and near live programming that was recorded within 24 hours of broadcast on television.
- 18 months: Prerecorded programming that is edited for Internet distribution.
- 24 months: Archival programming
Hardware devices (including BluRay) must be compliant on 1/1/2014.
So, bottom line: If you run your show on television with captioning, even locally, and then put it online, you’ll likely fall under the requirements of this ruling. As always, please feel free to call Don at 405-842-3343 if we can help you sort any of this out.