Captioning of online video clips to be mandatory in US

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:09pm

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted unanimously to make it mandatory to caption online video clips which were originally captioned for broadcast on TV.

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 gave the FCC the power to introduce rules for the captioning of online videos. The first stage of this came in 2012, when it introduced rules for the captioning of full-length programming. Following petitions from a number of groups, the FCC has now decided to extend the rules to short clips.

From 1 January 2016, individual video clips which have been lifted from pre-recorded programs will have to be captioned, while montages of clips, and clips from live and near-live programs, will have to be captioned from 1 January 2017. In the case of live and near-live clips, there will be a ‘grace period’ of 12 hours and 8 hours respectively before the captions have to go online.

At the moment, these rules only apply to websites owned or controlled by the original TV distributor of the clip. However, the FCC has signalled that it will be looking at whether they will be extended to third parties. It is also asking whether the grace periods should eventually be phased out, whether the rules should apply to mashups, and how they should be applied to advance clips which are posted before TV broadcast.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, “I appreciate compliance with the new rules will take work, but we must be more than just the steward of the status quo.”

For more information see this article on Multichannel News.

There is currently no legislation in Australia which states that video which has been captioned for broadcast must be captioned when made available online. For more information, see the Video on demand page on our website.

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