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FCC Proposes IP Video Captioning Regime

The FCC has proposed requiring programmers to provide closed captioning for Internet and other IP-delivered video and requiring distributors to make sure it gets through to their viewers.

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which passed a year ago next week, required the FCC to come up with rules requiring any online video that is closed captioned on TV to be closed captioned online and look into requiring captioning of web-originated video.

The FCC says it only plans to require captioning of full-length programming, not outtakes or clips.

Congress gave the commission until Jan. 12, 2012, to come up with the new rules.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking Monday, the FCC proposed the captioning and pass-through obligations, as well as requiring that the quality of IP captioning be at least as good as that on TV, which would include being able to change format and size. That could be crucial given the size of some of the small screens IP video is accessed from.

IT also proposed deadlines of six, 12, and 18 months after the rules are published in the federal register for captioning of various categories of programming. For example, six months for prerecorded programming but 12 months for live.

It also proposes not to adopt any particular standard for IP-delivered captioning, to allow various alternate means to the end of IP-captioning, and to allow for hardship waivers.

The rules would apply to TV programming that is delivered to "portable media players, personal computers, televisions, and the devices consumers connect to their televisions to access programming via the Internet and other sources."