Thursday, July 2, 2009

Introduction to Caption Action 2

Welcome to the Caption Action 2 blog. Caption Action 2 is the name of the grassroots Internet-based movement to get Congress to pass the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 (hereafter referred to as the 21st Century Act, or H.R. 3101) introduced on June 26, 2009 that will make captioning on the Internet mandatory for certain types of broadcasters, and to increase captioning on the Internet.

Why Have a Caption Action 2?

We are making a big push to get the 21st Century Act passed, because a similar Act was introduced last year but never made it out of committee. It didn't even get to the point of having a hearing. Representative Ed Markey re-introduced the bill in June 2009, giving us a second chance. For all we know, we might not get a third chance! So it is absolutely critical that the deaf and hard of hearing community and its hearing friends unite to get this bill passed.

What Can YOU Do?

It is imperative that people write to their Congressional Representatives (to ask Representatives to cosponsor the bill) and write to Senators (to ask Senators to sponsor a similar bill) via the Internet. One thing that helps get a bill to move through Congress, is that Representatives and Senators cosponsor a bill. Last year, the previous version of the Act had only 15 cosponsors.

Read the COAT and National Association of the Deaf press releases about the 21st Century Act, to learn more. For convenience, reprinted below from the NAD press release is the key information about the Act as it pertains to online captioning:

Video Programming Access

  • Requires closed captioning display capability in all video programming devices.
  • Extends closed captioning obligations to television-type video programming distributed over the Internet (not user-generated content).
  • Requires easy access to closed captions via remote control and on-screen menus, and requires easy access by blind people to television controls and program selection menus.
  • Restores video description rules and requires access to televised emergency programming for people who are blind or have low vision.


  1. Can a template letter be drafted to be sent to representatives? It will save more time for more people to send it to their reps. Thanks.

  2. HR 3101 is good but it doesn't cover internet videos produced by non television braodcasters. Many organisations have videos online that are not closed or open captioned. These organisations are not included in the bill, only television broadcasters. This is too narrow and the bill should require any organisation (both profit or non-profit) that provides videos on their websites on the internet (but not private consumers i.e YouTube). i.e. if a university prodivde videos on the ir website they should also provide closed captioning. Or a religious organisation puts a video of their pastor on video should also provide closed captioning. Many non broadcast organisations are NOT putting closed captions on their video online! This bill is good but doesn't require them to do so. Just my two cents. The bill doesn't good far enough!