NCTA asks FCC to waive closed-captioning registration and certification for every programmer

FCC HQ
Last year, the FCC determined MVPDs should be responsible for compliance and registration issues tied to closed captioning of programming that runs on their systems. (Image: Ser Amantio di Nicolao)

The NCTA asked the FCC to make it clear that pay-TV operators are not responsible for seeking closed-captioning registration or compliance certification for every show that runs on each programming network.

Last year, the FCC determined MVPDs should be responsible for compliance and registration issues tied to closed captioning of programming that runs on their systems—a remedy that removed “needless paperwork obligations” for programmers, the agency said.

In an FCC filing obtained by Broadcasting & Cable, the cable industry lobbying group came out in support of a petition circulated by the Alliance for Community Media (ACM), which earlier sought a waiver from the requirements for public, educational and government access (PEG) channels.

The NCTA wants the waiver expanded to all channels running on MVPDs.

"We agree with ACM that any requirement for individual producers of programs aired on channels to register and certify with the commission would impose significant and unnecessary burdens on those producers," NCTA said in the filing.

The NCTA said an “expansive reading” of the FCC rules led it to conclude that the agency’s registration and certification requirements extend beyond PEG channels to the producers of every program licensed for distribution by an MVPD.  

"The broad definition of 'video programming owner' cited by ACM was not meant to require a program-by-program certification or registration for each program licensed to a network for distribution by a cable operator or other multichannel video programming distributor," NCTA said.

"Rather, it was intended to address a potential gap in captioning responsibility in cases where owners of video programming 'may distribute programming themselves [as is the case with PEG channels] and possess a right to license the programming to third parties. No such gap arises where a network itself certifies its compliance with the captioning rule, in so doing ensuring that each of the programs comprising its linear channel line-up also is either exempt or captioned in accordance with the rules,” the organization added.