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Pluto, ViacomCBS to Pay $3.5 Million Penalty for Violations of Accessibility Rules

Pluto TV
(Image credit: Pluto TV)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has announced that it has settled an investigation with Pluto Inc. and its parent company, ViacomCBS Inc., regarding violations of the Commission’s accessibility rules.

As part of the settlement, Pluto will pay a $3.5 million civil penalty for the violations and has agreed to enter into a compliance plan to ensure that the non-exempt video programming Pluto streams over the internet includes closed captioning in compliance with Commission rules.

The FCC reported that today’s action reflects the first consent decree and first enforcement action related to Internet Protocol (IP) closed captioning rules since their adoption in 2012.

The IP-closed captioning rules apply broadly to the distributors, providers, and owners of IP-delivered video programming, the FCC said. 

The rules require that all nonexempt full-length video programming delivered using Internet Protocol must be provided with closed captions if the programming was previously shown on television in the United States with captions or is live programming being shown on television in the United States with captions.

The FCC reported that the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation confirmed that Pluto failed to comply with the IP closed captioning rules when distributing video programming on numerous platforms used to disseminate Pluto TV.  

Additionally, the company failed to implement the closed captioning functionality requirements and make contact information available to users in order to submit written closed captioning complaints.  

As a result of Pluto’s actions, individuals with hearing disabilities were unable to access closed captioning when viewing Pluto TV over some platforms, the FCC said. 

The consent decree is available here.