FCC to Reconsider Rules for Closed Captioning of Internet Protocol-Delivered Video Clips


The FCC has announced its tentative agenda for its July 2014 Open Meeting.  The likely agenda includes consideration of a Second Order on Reconsideration and a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with respect to the obligation to provide closed-captioning for “video clips” when previously shown on TV and then delivered over the Internet.  “Video clips” are defined as excerpts of video programming.  For example, excerpts of a FIFA World Cup soccer game showing just the scored goals would constitute a “video clip.”

In a 2012 Order, the FCC imposed the close captioning requirements[1] on the owners, providers, and distributors of IP-delivered video programming for all “full-length programming,” but not initially to “video clips.”  While the Commission exempted video clips from a closed-captioning obligation, it did recognize congressional intent to extend captioning to video clips.  The video clip exemption means the program owner can show uncaptioned scored goals from a World Cup match over the Internet even though streaming the entire match over the Internet would require closed-captioning.

Reconsideration of the exemption was sought by a number of parties; comments were filed; and the Commissioners are considering whether to extend closed-captioning rules to video clips.  The FCC has tentatively scheduled its July Open Meeting for Friday, July 11, 2014, at 10:30 am EDT.  Under the FCC’s rules, parties can make ex parte visits with the commissioners or make written ex parte filings with the Commission until seven days before the Open Meeting (i.e., until close of business, July 3).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Advisory or are interested in making an ex parteadvocacy communication with the FCC, please contact Robert H Jackson at 703-714-1316 or by email at rhj@commlawgroup.com.

[1] According to the FCC 2012 Order, the close captioning duties for full-length programming include:

  • Requiring video programming owners to send required caption files for IP-delivered video programming to video programming distributors and providers along with program files;
  • Requiring video programming distributors and providers to enable the rendering or pass through of all required captions to the end user, including through the hardware or software that a distributor or provider makes available for this purpose;
  • Requiring video programming owners and video programming distributors and providers to agree upon a mechanism to make available to video programming distributors and providers information on video programming that is subject to the IP closed captioning requirements on an ongoing basis;  and
  • Requiring video programming owners to provide video programming distributors and providers with captions of at least the same quality as the television captions for the same programming, and requiring distributors and providers to maintain the quality of the captions provided by the video programming owner.

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