FCC Adopts New Closed Captioning Rules for IP Video Clips

FCC Adopts New Closed Captioning Rules for IP Video Clips

FCC doorwayHere’s the latest dispatch from GAB Washington D.C. Counsel David O’Connor with Wilkinson Bauer Knauer:

At the July 11 FCC open meeting, the Commission voted to adopt new rules requiring the closed captioning of brief video clips delivered using Internet protocol (“IP”).

By way of background, in January 2012, the FCC implemented imposed IP closed captioning rules.  At that time, the FCC applied the rules to full-length programming and not to video clips.  After disabilities groups filed a petition for reconsideration, the FCC directed the Media Bureau to issue a public notice for further comment on the clips issue.  That petition led to today’s decision.


  • The new video clips rules will apply only if the associated program is shown on TV with captions, and only if a video programming distributor shows the associated program on TV and then posts the clip on its own website or through its own app.  The rules do not apply to third-party distributors.


  • There are three phased-in compliance deadlines:


o   January 1, 2016 – captioning for “straight lift” clips, which are defined as a single excerpt of a program that had been captioned when first shown on TV, with the same video and audio as had been broadcast.


o   January 1, 2017 – captioning for video montages – collections of clips from different broadcasts, where all had been captioned when broadcast.


o   July 1, 2017 – captioning for clips of time-sensitive (i.e., live or near-live) programming.  “Live” and “near-live” programming have the same meanings as in the original IP captioning rules.  There will be a “grace period” between TV airing and required online captioning of 12 hours for live programming and eight hours for near-live programming.


  • The rules do not apply to video clips that are in a provider’s video library before the applicable compliance deadline, because it would be economically burdensome to identify and track which clips need to be captioned.


·         There is an associated rulemaking seeking comment on additional issues related to video clips.

If you have questions about this issue please call GAB at 770-395-7200.