FCC updated mandates

New FCC Captioning Mandates: Who is Responsible for Captioned Programming?

New FCC Captioning Mandates – Who is Responsible?

FCC declares a move to an improved burden-shifting, certification, and shared-responsibility model so that millions of Americans affected by hearing impairments and deafness have full access to quality programming.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has revised its ruling regarding who incurs the responsibility of closed captioning for video distribution and programming production.

The FCC Captioning Mandates Ruling

The new ruling, announced at its Open Meeting February 18, ensures that the millions of Americans affected by hearing impairments and deafness have full access to quality programming.

FCC closed captioning
FCC  Captioning

The FCC today adopted amendments to its rules on closed captioning of televised video programming to ensure that millions of Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to programming. The commission said the action helps clarify which entities are responsible for which parts of the delivery and quality of closed captions on television.

Who Is Responsible For The New FCC Captioning Mandates?

The FCC answered questions about who is directly responsible for captioning and compliance requirements. The approbation of a Second Report and Order now declares a move to an improved burden-shifting, certification, and shared-responsibility model.

Video programming producers (VPPs) will continue to be primarily responsible for the quality of the closed captions and the technical portion and delivery will remain under the responsibility of the video programming distributors (VPDs). Creating the closed captions while following the FCC’s quality standards which include accuracy, synchronicity, completeness, and placement, will fall solely onto video programming owners (VPOs).

This addition to the ruling comes from the urging of various parties to the FCC to revisit the Order, in place since 1997, and allow liability to fall on various parties after investigations into any captioning issues arise

The new FCC Captioning Mandates ruling has also made some changes to the certification process of captions which will effectively help implementation. Before, VPOs presented certification stating their compliance of the rules directly to VPDs. Now, VPOs are required to communicate and file certifications with the FCC directly on an annual basis stating they have adhered to the best practices in regards to captioning, or provide documentation proving they are exempt from the rule, and how it applies to them.

New FCC Caption Mandates Video
FCC Captioning Mandates


Additionally, the new Order has revised how captioning complaints are handled. Reflecting on the idea of shared responsibility, VPDs will be able to shift the liability of issues, if necessary, to VPOs once a thorough investigation has been done. The VPDs are still expected to be responsible for responding to, and investigating all captioning complaints, but should they find the initial issue arose from creation or distribution, the VPOs will then be held accountable for implementing the correct fixes.

Lastly, implementation of the “compliance ladder” for all closed caption quality matters has been incorporated into the new ruling. In essence this will allow VPOs and VPDs to correct any shortcomings with informal actions without facing enforcement from the FCC. Of course, the enforcement sector will continue to have the authority to take action as it sees fit. This addition to the ruling also incorporates an “intentional and deliberate” regulation for determining fault for any captioning noncompliance.

In short, VPOs will be responsible for FCC captioning compliance. VPPs will continue monitoring the quality of closed captions and the delivery and responsibility of closed captions will remain in the hands of VPDs.  The shared-responsibility model will ensure more accountability, liability and overall quality of captioned programming for the hearing impaired.

Nicole E. Flynn, CMO at cielo24, is deeply interested in exploring and communicating the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) intersects with various aspects of our daily lives. She is passionate about exploring the ways in which AI can be ethically harnessed to improve the quality of life and make our world a better place. Nicole seeks to educate and inform audiences about the potential of AI technology and how it can be used to drive innovation and growth.