Closed caption symbol. The letters -cc- in white over a black background.

Today new rules governing the responsibilities of video programming distributors (VPDs) and video programmers for television closed captioning enter into effect. 

The new rules, released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 19, 2016, accomplish the following:

  • “Assign responsibility for the quality of closed captioning to VPDs and video programmers, with each entity responsible for closed captioning issues that are primarily within its control;”
  • “Maintain current rules that place primary responsibility for the provision of closed captioning on television programming on VPDs, but also hold video programmers responsible for a lack of captions where they have failed to provide captions on non-exempt programs.”

The FCC also amended the captioning complaint procedures to include video programmers in the handling of complaints; and requires video programmers to register contact information and certify compliance with captioning obligations directly with the FCC.

What does all this mean for users?  Having a clear definition of the VPDs and video programmers responsibilities will make it easier to enforce closed captioning rules and will improve the availability and quality of closed captioning.  Now, it is up to us, the users, to raise our voice when we identify violations to these rules. 

To see the complete odf document with the new rules, please visit Closed Captioning of Video Programming; Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Petition for Rulemaking - Second Report and Order

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