FCC Expands Closed Caption Rules for Online Video

July 14, 2014
The FCC has approved new rules to require closed captioning of video clips that are posted online. Specifically, the rules extend the ...
The FCC has approved new rules to require closed captioning of video clips that are posted online. Specifically, the rules extend the Commission's IP closed captioning rules adopted in 2012, which cover full-length videos online, to video clips if the original programming was shown on television in the United States with captions. The new rules apply to video programming distributors that air programming - including broadcasters and cable and satellite distributors - on television and then post clips of that programming on their own website or via their own mobile app.

The new rules do not extend to third party websites or apps. Compliance deadlines vary based on the type of video clip.

  • Jan. 1, 2016, will apply to "straight lift" clips, which contain a single excerpt of a captioned TV program with the same video and audio that was presented on television.
  • Jan. 1, 2017, will apply to "montages," which occur when a single file contains multiple straight lift clips.
  • July 1, 2017, will apply to video clips of live and near-live TV programming, such as news or sporting events. Distributors will have a grace period of 12 hours after the associated live video programming was shown on television and eight hours after the associated near-live video programming was shown on television before the clip must be captioned online in order to give distributors flexibility to post time-sensitive clips online without delay.

The requirements do not apply to video clips that are in the distributor's online library before the applicable compliance deadline.