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FCC Extends Comments Deadline on Closed-Captioning Rule

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The Federal Communications Commission has extended the comments’ period by two months on its proposed rule that closed captioning be added to video transmitted over the Internet so manufacturers of that equipment can discuss and determine what comments should be filed.

Extending the comment deadline is necessary because closed-captioning industry stakeholders need to coordinate with each other on the drafting of comments that reflect the needed collaboration the rule will require from the industry, say insiders.

On Sept. 5, the FCC posted a Federal Register notice—Closed Captioning of Internet Protocol-Delivered Video Programming: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010—saying the new deadline for comments on the proposed rule is extended to Nov. 4, 2013, from the original deadline of Sept. 3, 2013, and the deadline for reply comments is now Dec. 4, 2013, extended from Sept. 30, 2013.

The comments are being sought on the FCC’s original notice of proposed rulemaking—which was published on the Federal Register on July 2, 2013—concerning a requirement that closed captioning be implemented on “certain apparatus on which consumers view video programming.” In the original notice, the FCC seeks comment “on the potential imposition of closed-captioning synchronization requirements for covered apparatus, and on how DVD and Blu-ray players can fulfill the closed-captioning requirements of the statute.”

The Sept. 5 Federal Register notice says an extension on the comment period was sought by stakeholders “because it will give consumers and consumer electronics industry members time to engage in a collaborative dialogue on the issues raised in the FNPRM before submitting comments and reply comments, and it will enable consumer groups to retain pro bono counsel to file comments and reply comments on their behalf.” Therefore, the FCC granted the requested extension.

Giovanni Galvez, a captioning expert for Telestream’s CPC Team, says that for the video industry to comply with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-260) “means being able to collaborate with each other. This is especially true with today’s file-based workflows for video delivery.”

“Implementing the CVAA will affect content producers, distribution outlets and hardware manufacturers,” said Galvez, whose company acquired captioning-equipment-maker CPC in August 2013. “All must make sure that their bases are covered when it comes to closed captioning,” he said.

In addition, an official for Video Caption Corporation, which provides closed captioning for videos and DVDs, says by extending the comment deadline, the FCC provides consumer groups with “an extended period to evaluate the proposal.” That enables “buy-in where it belongs, with the people who need it most,” said Constance Carlson, VCC’s vice president of sales and marketing.

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