Today, the Federal Communications Commission has published its final ruling on the responsibilities related to the provision and quality of closed captions on television programming. The FCC will now be moving to a shared responsibility model that, while still imposing primary responsibility on video program distributors (VPDs), will now shift some of that responsibility directly to the video programmers (VPs) that produce the content. Each entity will be responsible for closed captioning issues that are primarily within its control.
This is an immense, albeit sensible, amendment to responsibilities. As with every effort put forward by the FCC on the matter of closed captioning, this new approach of shared responsibilities is aimed to improve the accessibility of telecommunications for millions of Americans who rely on captions to have the full television viewing experience.
The final rule can be found here: Federal Register: Closed Captioning of Video Programming; Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Petition for Rulemaking.
Yes, that means if you are a video producer, you are now directly responsible for the quality and accuracy of your captioning work. So be sure that your captioning satisfies the "de minimis" (virtually no errors) standards set in place by the FCC. Otherwise, any viewer complaints will now land on your desk.
In the following weeks, we will be breaking down this 55-page document and highlighting the key areas of responsibilities, who they are assigned to, and what further actions will need to be taken by both the VPs & VPDs.
These rules will be enforced 30 days from today. Stay tuned to our blog to stay up-to-date with this as it unfolds.
Next week: FCC Shared Responsibilities: Defining the Roles.