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FCC Captioning Requirements for Streaming Video

Learn more about streaming accessibility at Streaming Media East.

See complete videos and other highlights from Streaming Media West Connect on Streaming Media's YouTube channel.

Read the complete transcript of this video:

Suzy Rosen Singleton: The FCC does require 100% captioning of televised information, but we have a much more narrow reach for IP (internet protocol) captioning. And that is because we have to follow the 21st-Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). It specifically says within that law that Congress passed that we can only touch what's already been shown on television. So that is the number one point here. If it was shown on television in the United States with captioning, then it must be captioned. If it's full length, regardless, it doesn't really matter which website it's on.

However, if it is a video clip, we have even more, even more narrow oversight. If the video programming distributor or the provider produces that on television in the United States with captioning, then it must be captioned on their own website, not on a third-party website or app. So, for example, YouTube or Facebook, there are a lot of stations that may post video clips there, but they're never not covered by our rules. Unfortunately, many of them, not all of them, tend to be captioned. And the third point here is consumer-generated media. It's not shown on television and thus exempt from our rules.

I do want to emphasize, this is an important point. The CVAA and our rules emphasize that it is not about whether or not it's been shown on IP or on the internet, but it's actually about if it was IP-delivered. So, for example, programming may be delivered through internet protocol using a private network, but that is not internet programming, then, because it is not available on the internet; instead it is delivered through IP. So that would be covered by our rules. So, thinking about it a little bit, we cover a certain closed system. So for example, an airport may have their own closed system for video programming. And that's where we still have coverage because it was delivered through IP. So keep that in mind. It's not necessarily the test of whether or not it's online, but how the programming was delivered to your device.

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