FCC Adopts Video Description Regulations


On August 25, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Report & Order (R&O) reinstating its video description rules with certain modifications, pursuant to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (Act). The rules require large-market broadcast affiliates of the top four national networks, and cable operators and DBS providers with more than 50,000 subscribers, to provide programming with audio-narrated descriptions of a program’s key visual elements, beginning mid-2012. Davis Wright Tremaine previously summarized the Act in an earlier advisory available here, and discussed the FCC’s rulemaking notice announcing how it proposed to reinstate the rules here. (See advisory below for links).

Per the Act, the R&O restores the video description regulations that the FCC previously adopted in 2000, but which were subsequently vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Now with explicit congressional authorization under the Act, the FCC has reinstated the video description rules as of the statutorily-mandated date of Oct. 8, 2011. While the FCC originally proposed to require full compliance by Jan. 1, 2012, the R&O pushes that date back six months, to July 1, 2012. The most significant elements of the reinstated video description rules are as follows...

Please see full advisory below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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