FCC Issues Reminder to Video Programming Distributors Regarding Obligation to Submit Closed Captioning Contact Information
On April 27, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice reminding all video programming distributors (VPDs)—including both broadcasters and cable operators—to register closed captioning contact information with the Commission.
All broadcasters and cable operators were required to submit this information to the FCC by March 22, 2010. However, the Public Notice indicates that “many” VPDs have not yet done so. Accordingly, the FCC is seeking to increase compliance by reminding VPDs of this obligation and noting that a failure to comply could result in an enforcement action.
As explained in our March 19, 2010 advisory, the FCC requires VPDs to establish: (1) a contact person for handling immediate closed captioning concerns, and (2) a contact person for receiving written captioning complaints of a general or non-time-sensitive nature.
In order to assist viewers and potentially facilitate the resolution of such captioning complaints, the rule requires that VPDs publicize the appropriate contact information and provide it to the Commission, which will maintain a database open to consumers. This requirement applies regardless of whether the VPD is currently exempt from the obligation to provide closed captions.
The best way for VPDs to file their contact information with the FCC is to visit its website and submit the information online. The Commission’s website contains a detailed form with step-by-step instructions. Alternatively, the contact information can be e-mailed directly to the FCC’s Disability Rights Office.
Davis Wright Tremaine advises cable television operators and broadcasters on the requirements of the FCC’s closed captioning regulations, and can respond to any questions you may have regarding the foregoing FCC notice and other issues arising under the captioning rules.