YouTube Invites Viewers To Blow The Whistle On Publishers That Don’t Have Closed Captions

By Megan O'Neill 

Over the summer the FCC mandated that by the end of September all television networks and online video sites providing TV content would have to provide closed captions.  Now that the new law has gone into effect, YouTube has launched an initiative to hold these publishers to the new rule, asking viewers to call them out on content that has yet to be captioned.

Janko Roettgers of GigaOM reports that YouTube has created a special web form that lets viewers report content that they believe should be required by law to contain closed captions but does not.  When a user submits a complaint it will be forwarded to the content provider.  If you submit a complaint, YouTube will forward the content providers answer to you.

It should be pointed out that YouTube is doing what they can to avoid abuse of this new feature.  They say that, “Abuse of this webform may result in termination of your YouTube account.”  Additionally, users that submit links through the form must check off a box and provide a digital signature agreeing that “I believe in good faith that the video(s) and information listed above are required by law to contain captions.”

Back in August, a PDF of the ruling for closed captions revealed that Apple, Amazon, YouTube and other members of the Digital Media Association (DiMA) had called for an extension of the deadline for closed captions, saying that “the current September 30, 2012 deadline is unrealistic due to technical difficulties.”  However, this extension was not granted.

Most of the major players in online television programming have been working for some time to add captioning to their content, and YouTube’s webform, giving viewers the opportunity to blow the whistle on publishers that are not complying, should serve as the extra push these publishers need to get the ball rolling on their closed captioning efforts.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.