FCC Deadline: IP Clips Must Be Captioned January 2016

Posted by Anna on August 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm. CVAA, Captioning, FCC

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Another FCC deadline is right around the corner.  Beginning January 2016, all IP-delivered video clips taken from programming that was originally broadcast with closed captions will have to be captioned as well.  This milestone of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act only applies to “straight-lift” clips, which contain a single excerpt of a captioned television program with the same video and audio that was presented on television. “Montages,” which contain multiple straight-lift clips, will need to be captioned starting January 2017.

The FCC interpreted the CVAA to require closed captioning of IP-delivered video clips regardless of the content or length of the clip. While some commenters argued that the mandate should only apply the closed captioning requirements to clips with certain content or above a certain length, the FCC disagreed. They firmly believe Congress’s intent in enacting the CVAA was to ensure that consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing have full access to video programming that is shown on television with captions, including any video programming posted online as video clips. Whether those video clips contain news, sports, entertainment, or any other type of content is immaterial. They conclude that by making a clip available via the Internet, a video programming distributor or provider has made a conscious decision that it has value for the general public, regardless of whether it is 10 seconds or 10 minutes long.

This will no doubt be a welcome change for the millions of deaf Americans that are currently without access to the vast majority of IP-clips. While rates have certainly improved over the years, the most recent data that Consumer Groups submitted to the FCC in February 2014 indicated that only 57 percent of news clips and 18 percent of non-news clips are captioned, leaving many citizens cut off from critical news programming and important cultural touchstones.

CaptionMax is already working with many of our clients to help them customize a workflow so they can become compliant with this mandate before it goes into effect. We strongly encourage all of our clients to begin discussions with us today to ensure there is adequate time to define, develop, and test a new workflow prior to the January 1st deadline. To receive more information on how to incorporate the closed captioning of IP-delivered clips into your post-production workflow, contact your CaptionMax representative or

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