FCC to TV Networks: Put Captions on Your Online Content

In a victory for disability advocates, the FCC has ruled that networks and others must provide closed caption data on online video content that was originally produced for television.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ruled that television networks and web video sites have until the end of September to start providing basic closed captions for any video content made available online. However, as a concession to the industry's claims of not having enough time to implement the ruling, the FCC has given them another 16 months to provide customizable caption data that allow users to improve readability on their own TVs.

What's the Big Idea?

The ruling marks a victory for disability advocates, who have sued both CNN and Netflix for not doing more to make their content usable for disabled customers and whose activism spurred the 2010 passage of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. Unfortunately, their job isn't finished yet: In addition to the customization delay, there's still the matter of video content that solely exists online, which isn't covered by the act. Fortunately "many sites already offer closed captioning for at least a part of their web video inventory, and that likely won’t change at the end of next month."

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