Congress expected to update 1934 Communications Act

January 6, 2010

In response to the essay from Andrew Lambourne of SysMedia in the last issue of this newsletter on the subject of automated captioning, there is an update on a bill in passage through the U.S. Congress: H.R.3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009.

It adds requirements to the 1934 Communications Act for captioning, video description and emergency information services to be better supported by Internet access equipment. One example is the ability to navigate an EPG by those individual who are unable to read the visual display. Another example is to remove the exemption for displays under 12in to display closed-captioning.

That means Internet-delivered video content will have the same requirement as over-the-air broadcasts to carry access services for those with auditory and visual impairments. The bill is currently with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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