FCC Seeks Further Input on Closed Captioning

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding closed captioning. It did so to allow parties an opportunity to more thoroughly address several proposals made by commenters in response to an earlier FNPRM that sought input on: (1) extending some of the responsibilities for complying with Commission rules regarding the provision and quality of closed captioning on television beyond video programming distributors (VPDs) to other entities involved in the production and delivery of video programming; (2) adopting a burden shifting approach for complaint resolution that would require both VPDs and video programmers to be involved in the resolution of consumer complaints; and (3) whether the Commission’s rules permitting VPDs to rely on certifications from programming suppliers to demonstrate compliance with the Commission’s captioning requirements should be eliminated if the Commission were to reapportion responsibility for closed captioning rule compliance.

In response to these questions, some commenters raised concerns regarding the ability of VPDs and consumers to locate the correct video programmer contact information in order to resolve closed captioning complaints should the Commission decide to extend some closed captioning rule compliance responsibilities to video programmers. Specifically, the Commission now invites comment on:

  • requiring video programmers to file contact information and certifications of captioning compliance with the Commission;
  • whether any other means would make programmer contact information and certifications more widely available to consumers, VPDs, and other interested parties; and
  • whether these potential rule modifications alter previous Commission positions and whether there are justifications for the Commission changing course at this time.

Comments will be due 20 days, and replies due 30 days, after Federal Register publication, which has not yet occurred.

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