Caption Action 2: Internet Closed Captioning – the Senate passed S 3304 unanimously!

The hard work of the National Association of the Deaf and the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology has resulted in the Senate modifying S 3304 so it is more like HR 3101! There was then a last big push on to get the Senate to pass S 3304!

Update! At 10 pm last night the Senate passed S 3304 unanimously! COAT trumpeted the news late last night!

But.

We’ve also lost.

Despite the hard work of NAD and COAT, the “new” S 3304 does NOT include the provision for broadcasters to report to the FCC every two years about how much Internet-only programming they are captioning. It also does not include the provision for the FCC to, three years after the law takes effect, recommend whether closed captioning requirements should be extended to Internet-only television programming.

Caption Action 2 will be continuing the fight! There is a whole big new and growing world of Internet-only television out there, and we will be pushing Internet-only broadcasters to caption! We don’t have the luxury of waiting for future Federal regulation – we’ve got to push them now! Now that this Congressional battle is over, watch for word from Caption Action 2 on who we will be targeting!

Caption Action 2: Internet Closed Captioning.

Industry Wins. Deaf Pay the Price.

How high a price are we paying for Congress not requiring original web television programming to have closed captions? The price is already high, and getting higher by the day! Caption Action 2 is still learning just how high that price is.

Professionally produced web television is exploding on the Internet. More money is being poured into it, and the quality has increased to the point that web television now has its own version of the Emmys, the Streamys.


Web television may not be the correct term. Increasingly, the term we see being used more and more is “web series.” One company is even financing an entire movie to be released online as a web series! In fact, the audience for web television has grown so much that Mashable now releases a monthly list of the top web series.

PROFESSIONAL WEB PRODUCERS – WHO?

Caption Action 2 is learning about the producers of professional web series, and contacting them to ask about captioning. So far, we have contacted five!

Babelgum.com – Babelgum pays for professional video, as reported by Fast Company.
Crackle.com – Crackle.com has 52 original web television series.
MyDamnChannel.com – MyDamnChannel.com recently got an infusion of money. In addition, the company recently released a press release about their new web programming.
NextNewNetworks.com – the company describes itself as “the leading provider of original, episodic series programming for the Internet.”
Vuguru.com – this is backed by Michael Eisner, formerly of Disney.

Crackle.com has a FAQ that says at the bottom:
Q: Does Crackle have subtitles or closed captioning?
A: Currently, Crackle does not offer subtitles or closed captioning but please be assured we are working on implementing them into our system.

RESULTS OF CONTACTS

When contacted by Caption Action 2, Crackle.com said “our Product Team is currently working on it. It’s certainly something we would like to be able to offer sooner rather than later, but there are also technological issues involved, in terms of what we can make work on our site.” Caption Action 2 is trying to get a more definite response as to when Crackle.com will begin captioning.

Likewise, MyDamnChannel.com responded that they had “no plans” to closed caption as of now. Caption Action 2 has not responded yet to MyDamnChannel.com.

What can we do? Congress just passed legislation that will get us guaranteed access to regular television programming on the web, but already, a whole new world of web entertainment is leapfrogging ahead, and we don’t have any legal guarantee to captions in this new world! All we can do is ask for, push for, plead for, and demand captions on web series!

It does not matter to Caption Action 2 if a web producer is small. If they can afford to produce professional web series – the key word here is PROFESSIONAL – they can afford to caption!

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