Changing rules

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission defines the rules on closed captions for video-on-demand. It’s a bit of a moving target, since the ultimate public policy objective is for all films & TV shows to be accessible for hearing impaired people — and therefore include closed captions. On January 12, 2012, the FCC adopted rules requiring captioned programs shown on TV (including films that have had a TV airing anywhere in the world) to be captioned when re-shown on the Internet. These rules implement provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). It’s all a bit messy and almost impossible for the FCC to monitor. And so they’ve essentially passed the buck to VoD outlets. The current reality is that your film needs closed captions if you want it to be considered by iTunes or any cable or satellite based VoD. It’s not at all expensive to get a closed captions file made — you can do-it-yourself, but we strongly recommend you use ZenCaptions.

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