FCC Report and Order Clarifies Captioning Responsibilities

FCC Caption Quality Second Report and Order

When the FCC Caption Quality Best Practices went into effect, there was a bit of confusion as to who would be responsible for ensuring compliance and resolving any closed captioning issues with the new regulations. Was it the captioning company, the video programming distributor, or the video programming owner/producer’s duty?

In an open meeting on February 18, the FCC revisited the issue, and is now adopting a Second Report and Order to a “shared-responsibility” of video programming distributors and video programmers.

In short, this order clarifies:

  • It is the responsibility of the video programmer to ensure the ordering and presence of quality closed captioning on programming, while it is the distributor (broadcaster, cable, or satellite company) to make sure the captions pass through, and pass through correctly regarding any technical aspects.
  • Addressing and resolving any closed captioning issue is the shared responsibility of the video programmer and the video programming distributor, based on which of them has “primary control” over the specific issue.
  • Video programming distributors must certify they have “exercised due diligence” that the closed captioning issue is out of their control before passing the complaint to the video programmer, but it is the responsibility of the video programmer to ensure the quality of the captions.
  • Video programmers are responsible for lack of captioning on non-exempt programs.
  • Video programmers must annually file compliance with FCC rules “governing the provision and quality of captions” and state if they are legally exempt from any of the regulations.

VITAC, as the caption vendor, adheres to the best practices set forth in section 79.1(k)(2),(3) and (4) of the captioning rules, provided the programmer has adopted and follows the best practices set forth in 79.1(k)(1).

Contact us with any questions.

By Brittany Bender

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