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FCC Extends Deadline for Compliance with Television Closed Captioning Quality Rules

The FCC announced in a recent Public Notice that it will extend the deadline for compliance with its new television closed captioning quality rules until March 16, 2015.

Previously scheduled to go into effect on January 15, 2015, the quality rules establish standards for television closed captioning concerning (1) accuracy, (2) synchronicity, (3) completeness, and (4) placement.  The rules also require video programming distributors (e.g., broadcast stations and cable systems) to seek certain certifications from video programmers concerning closed captioning quality.

In addition to the quality rules, the extension applies to certain related rules that also will now take effect on March 16, 2015, including:

  • Recordkeeping requirements concerning distributors’ monitoring and maintenance of closed captioning equipment and signals; and

  • Procedures concerning informal complaints in connection with the use of Electronic Newsroom Technique (ENT).  The extension does not affect eligible stations’ obligations to comply with the FCC’s ENT Best Practices, which took effect on June 30, 2014.

The FCC is still considering whether to impose direct obligations for compliance with the quality rules on programmers as well as distributors.

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