Captioning rules for TV are straightforward. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Internet captioning, due to a plethora of special cases and exemptions that have been carved out. Prerecorded programming, live programming, and clips are all treated differently; it also matters when a video was first posted on the Internet, and when it last was shown on TV.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the agency responsible for enforcing the rules for Internet captioning. This process is primarily driven by consumer complaints. If you see a captioning problem, the first step is to figure out whether it is covered under the law and/or rules. The RERC has developed a flowchart to assist you in determining the legal situation. This flowchart was initially distributed in April 2016, under the Development of a Consumer Model for a Technology-Focused Train-the-Trainer Program. It has been updated to take the most recent captioning deadlines into account. We wish to thank Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden for his assistance in producing an accessible version.
View the flowchart:
- Single page static flowchart (PPT)
- Step-by-step interactive flowchart (accessible PPT)