FCC Approves Rules to Require Closed Captioning of Online Video Clips Starting in 2016


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved new rules to require closed captioning of certain video clips posted online.  In keeping with the goal of ensuring equal access to programming by deaf and hard of hearing individuals, the rules will extend the Commission’s Internet Protocol (IP) closed captioning rules (currently applicable to full-length online videos) to video clips if the original programming was shown on television in the United States with captions.  The new rules apply to video programming distributors that air programming on television and then post clips of that programming on their own website or via their own mobile app; they are not applicable to third party websites or applications.

Compliance deadlines vary depending on the type of programming in the clip:

  • January 1, 2016 for “straight lift” clips, which contain a single excerpt of a captioned television program with the same video and audio presented on television;
  • January 1, 2017 for “montages,” which occur when a single file contains multiple straight lift clips; and
  • July 1, 2017 for video clips of live and near-live television program such as news or sporting events.

The new requirements do not apply to clips that are in a distributor’s online library before the applicable compliance deadline.

For additional information, please contact Erin Fitzgerald.

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