FCC Closed Captioning Requirements and Regulations Guide

FCC Closed Captioning Requirements

A Complete Guide to FCC Closed Captioning Requirements and Regulations.

Closed captioning has become an essential component of modern media, ensuring that individuals with hearing impairments have equal access to video content. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has implemented specific guidelines and requirements for closed captioning to ensure compliance and accessibility.

With the increasing demand for online video content and the growing emphasis on inclusivity, understanding FCC closed captioning requirements is crucial for media producers and broadcasters. 

In this blog, we will explore the key aspects of FCC closed captioning requirements and how organizations can meet these standards to provide equitable access to their video content.

Understanding the FCC’s Role in Closed Captioning

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency responsible for regulating communications in the United States. 

In 1990, the FCC passed the Television Decoder Circuitry Act, which requires all televisions sold in the United States to have a closed caption decoder built in. This ensures that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can access video programming that is closed captioned.

The FCC also has regulations in place that govern the quality of closed captioning. These regulations require that captions be accurate, timely, and comprehensive. They also require that captions be placed in a way that does not obstruct other important visual content on the screen.

What are FCC Closed Captioning Requirements and Regulations

What are FCC Closed Captioning Requirements and Regulations

The FCC’s closed captioning requirements are set forth in 47 CFR Part 79. These closed captioning regulations apply to all video programming that is distributed in the United States, including television programming, streaming video, and video on demand.

The key requirements of the FCC’s closed captioning regulations are as follows:

  • Accuracy: Captions must be accurate and match the spoken words in the dialogue as closely as possible.
  • Timeliness: Captions must be displayed in a timely manner, so that viewers can read them without difficulty.
  • Completeness: Captions must be complete, so that viewers do not miss any important information.
  • Placement: Captions must be placed in a way that does not obstruct other important visual content on the screen.
  • Background noises: Captions must convey important background noises, such as music, sound effects, and applause.

Reference: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/closed-captioning-television.

Key Requirements for Closed Captioning Compliance based on FCC

In order to comply with the FCC’s closed captioning requirements, video programming distributors must take the following steps:

1. Use a closed captioning service that is certified by the FCC.

2. Test captions for accuracy and completeness before they are distributed.

3. Provide a way for viewers to report closed captioning errors.

4. Respond to closed captioning complaints in a timely manner.

5. Keep records of closed captioning compliance.

Challenges in Implementing FCC Closed Captioning Regulations

The FCC’s closed captioning requirements are designed to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to video programming. However, there are a number of challenges that can make it difficult for video programming distributors to comply with these requirements.

One challenge is the cost of closed captioning. Closed captioning can be a costly process, especially for large-scale video programming distributors. This is because closed captioning services typically charge per minute of video that is captioned.

Another challenge is the complexity of the FCC’s closed captioning regulations. The regulations are very detailed and can be difficult to understand. This can make it difficult for video programming distributors to ensure that they are complying with all of the requirements.

Finally, the FCC’s closed captioning regulations are constantly evolving. The FCC is constantly updating the regulations to address new challenges and technologies. This can make it difficult for video programming distributors to keep up with the latest requirements.

The Potential Consequences of Non-compliance with FCC Regulations

Consequences of Non-compliance with CC Regulations

The FCC can impose a number of sanctions on video programming distributors who do not comply with the closed captioning regulations. These sanctions can include:

  • Monetary fines
  • Loss of broadcast licenses
  • Injunctions against future broadcasts

In addition to the potential financial and legal consequences, non-compliance with the FCC’s closed captioning regulations can also have a negative impact on a video programming distributor’s reputation. This is because non-compliance can be seen as a sign of disrespect for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Resources and Tools to Achieve FCC Closed Captioning Requirements

There are a number of cc resources and platforms available to help video programming distributors comply with the FCC’s closed captioning requirements. These resources include:

1. The FCC’s website: The FCC website has a wealth of information about the closed captioning regulations, including the regulations themselves, FAQs, and guidance documents.

2. Certified closed captioning services: There are a number of certified closed captioning services that can provide video programming distributors with closed captioning services that meet the FCC’s requirements.

3. Closed captioning software: There are a number of closed captioning software programs that can help video programming distributors create and manage closed captions.

By using these resources and tools, video programming distributors can make it easier to comply with the FCC’s closed captioning requirements and ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to video programming.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are FCC standards?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a U.S. government agency that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC has established standards for closed captioning that require captions to be accurate, synchronous, and complete.

Is the FCC mark required?

Yes, the FCC mark is required on all closed captions that meet FCC standards. The FCC mark is a small logo that appears in the lower right corner of the screen. The mark indicates that the captions have been certified by the FCC and meet its standards.

What is the FCC requirement for closed captioning?

The FCC requires all television programming that is shown between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. to be closed captioned. This includes all programming, regardless of the language it is in. The FCC also requires that all video programming that is distributed on the internet to be closed captioned.

What are the rules for closed captioning?

The FCC has established a number of rules for closed captioning, including:

  • Captions must be accurate and correspond to the spoken words in the dialogue.
  • Captions must be synchronous and appear on the screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.
  • Captions must be complete and run from the beginning to the end of the program.
  • Captions must be formatted in a way that is easy to read, with no more than 32 characters per line.
  • Captions must include all important sound effects and background noises.

How accurate do captions need to be to meet FCC standards?

Captions must be accurate and correspond to the spoken words in the dialogue to the fullest extent possible. This means that captions should include all words spoken, even if they are mumbled or whispered. Captions should also include all sound effects and background noises that are important to the story or meaning of the program.

What are the rules for video captioning?

The FCC has the same requirements for video captioning as it does for closed captioning. This means that video captions must be accurate, synchronous, complete, and formatted in a way that is easy to read. However, video captions also have some additional requirements, such as:

  • Captions must be displayed in a larger font size than closed captions.
  • Captions must be displayed in a different color than the background of the video.
  • Captions must be displayed in a way that does not obstruct the view of the video.

What are the FCC requirements for video description?

Video description is a service that provides audio descriptions of the visual elements of a video program to people who are blind or visually impaired. The FCC requires all video programming that is distributed on the internet to be described. The video description must be accurate, synchronous, and complete. It must also be provided in a way that is easy to understand and does not interfere with the enjoyment of the video program.

What are the requirements for the FCC logo?

The FCC logo is a small logo that appears in the lower right corner of the screen on closed captions that meet FCC standards. The logo is a white square with the letters “FCC” in black. The logo must be displayed in a way that is not obscured by the closed captions.

Who qualifies for CaptionCall?

CaptionCall is a service that provides live closed captioning to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. To qualify for CaptionCall, you must have a hearing loss that makes it difficult to understand speech without captions. You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

What is the FCC limit?

The FCC limit is the maximum amount of time that a television program can be shown without closed captions. The FCC limit is 15 minutes per hour. This means that a television program can only be shown without closed captions for 15 minutes out of every hour.

Summary on FCC Closed Captioning Requirements and Regulations

In conclusion, understanding and complying with FCC closed captioning requirements is crucial for businesses and organizations. 

By providing accurate and comprehensive closed captioning, they ensure equal access to information and services for individuals with hearing impairments. 

Additionally, adhering to these requirements helps organizations avoid potential legal consequences and maintain a positive reputation. 

To ensure compliance and meet the needs of all viewers, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the FCC’s guidelines and work with reputable closed captioning service providers.

Read: ADA Closed Captioning Requirements and Regulations Guide in 2023.

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