Closed Captioning of Internet Video Clips


In September of 2012, the FCC announced the obligation for closed captioning on all full-length Internet video programming that was previously broadcast on television in the United States with captions. In accordance with further rulings, multiple deadlines are imminent in relation to “Internet video clips,” as well as timelines for the presence of captions on videos once repurposed for the Internet.

Current Guidelines

Existing internet regulations (as of October 2015) are only in place for “full-length video programming;” defined as video programming that is shown on broadcast television and redistributed in its entirety (without considerable editing) via a website or app operated solely by the person or entity. Consumer-generated media shown on the Internet are not required to be captioned; unless, of course, they were broadcast with captions on television. The same goes for movies that have not been shown on U.S. television with captions.

Currently, full-length video programming needs to be captioned on the Internet within 30 days from its initial television air date. Beginning March 30, 2016, that timeline will move to its revised, ongoing deadline of 15 days after the original closed-captioned television air date.

Internet Video Clips

Excerpts of full-length video programming (with the same video and audio) captioned for television and posted online are denoted as video clips, or “straight-lift clips.” These Internet video clips will soon need to be captioned if the associated programming is broadcast in the U.S. with closed captions.

Beginning January 1, 2016, the first wave of requirements for Internet video clips will be in effect relating to a single excerpt, or single “straight-lift clip” from a full-length program. In the following year (on January 1, 2017), montages, or edits composed of multiple single excerpts (“straight-lift clips”), will also need to have captions present on the Internet. More on montages at our blog: Closed Captioning Internet Video Clips: “Montage Clips”.

The full guide can be found on the website here: Captioning of Internet Video Programming.

Repurposing caption files for the web can be as simple as reformatting and a quick file conversion. After all, the videos have already been transcribed. It’s just a matter of matching your video player’s specifications for web play-out. To learn more about getting your internet clips compliant, please contact us.

Reminder on How to File a Consumer Complaint Regarding Closed Captioning.