Sunday, July 19, 2009

HR 3101 In Plain English

Caption Action 2 has had a request to "translate" the language in HR 3101 into plain English. Below is our attempt to translate the language.

The text of H.R. 3101 is on and a PDF can be downloaded from this blog under the blogroll. The important part is Title II, Section 203. The key language from that is reproduced below, and our plain English translation is in Italics:

    (b) Closed Captioning on Video Programming Distributed Over the Internet- Section 713 of such Act is further amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:
    `(c) Deadlines for Captioning-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- The regulations prescribed pursuant to subsection (b) shall include an appropriate schedule of deadlines for the provision of closed captioning of video programming.

      Translation: Even if the bill passes, we will not have 100% closed captioning online right away. A transitional schedule will be developed, most likely by the Federal Communications Commission. It could be as late as 2020 by the time 100% captioning of television on line is required. For comparison purposes, look at the FCC rules that implemented the captioning requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It was not until January 2006 that television broadcasters had to caption 100% of all their new non-exempt programming.

        `(A) Within 12 months after the submission of the report to Congress required by section 201(b) of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009, the Commission shall prescribe regulations that include an appropriate schedule of deadlines for the provision of closed captioning of video programming distributed to the public over the Internet.

        Translation: If the bill passes, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has up to 18 months to submit a report ("inquiry") to Congress about internet video software and programming, technical issues, technical standards, etc. THEN the FCC has up to a year to write regulations for captioning on the Internet. So it could be as long as 2.5 years after the bill passes (if the bill passes) before we even have a schedule for mandatory captioning on the Internet.

        `(B) Consistent with the regulations promulgated under subsection (b), the regulations prescribed under this paragraph shall ensure the accessibility of video programming, except for consumer generated media, through the provision of captions on--
          `(i) preproduced video programming that was previously captioned for television viewing;

          Translation: "Preproduced" means recorded programming, not live programming. If it was captioned on television, it must be captioned on the Internet.

          `(ii) live video programming;

          Translation: This simply means just what it says - live - as in live news. For example, CNN would have to caption their CNN online live programming.

          `(iii) video programming first published or exhibited after the effective date of such regulations provided by or generally considered to be comparable to programming provided by multichannel programming distributors.'.

          Translation: New programming created after the laws took effect would have to be captioned, period.

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