Gallaudet's Chapel Hall with U.S. Capitol dome in backgroundGallaudet's new logo with TAP wording below

FCC Rulings on TRS/VRS Marketing Practices;
closed captioning exemption

To: Consumer Contact List
From: Karen Peltz Strauss, RERC-TA
Re: Consumer Contact List - FCC's Rulings on TRS/VRS Marketing Practices; denial of closed captioning exemption
Date: January 30, 2005

1. FCC Rulings on TRS/VRS Marketing and Call Handling Practices. Attached are the three documents released by the FCC last week (links to URLs follow this summary). These state that telecommunications relay service (TRS) and video relay service (VRS) providers are not to engage in the following practices:

  • informing a consumer that he may only use one VRS provider (or telling him that his broadband connection may be connected to only one piece of video equipment)
  • adjusting a consumer's hardware or software in a way that restricts the consumer to using one VRS provider without the consumer's consent
  • contacting individuals that have previously used the VRS service to suggest, urge or tell them to make more calls.
  • imposing minimum usage requirements on customers
  • selectively answering calls from preferred customers or locations (providers must handle calls in the order in which they are received)
  • allowing customers to make advance reservations so they can reach a communications assistant (CA) without delay
  • having consumers reach only a recorded message that asks for information so the provider can "call back" the customer when the provider wishes to do so - call backs may still be allowed in situations where an individual calls a relay center, is put on queue, and is given the option of waiting or receiving a call back when a CA becomes available.
  • using VRS as video remote interpreting (as a substitute for an in person interpreter)
  • using any program that involves the use of any type of financial incentives to encourage or reward a consumer for placing a TRS call - the goal here is not to entice consumers to make relay calls that they would otherwise not make, just to get rewards from the provider. An example of such a reward is payment for the customer's high speed Internet service.

TRS PROVIDERS MAY NOT USE INCENTIVE PROGRAMS TO REWARD CONSUMERS FOR PLACING TRS CALLS; OTHER IMPERMISSIBLE TRS MARKETING AND CALL HANDLING; PRACTICES OUTLINED.
Providers Offering Such Incentives Will Be Ineligible For Compensation from TRS Fund. News Release. (Dkt No 98-67, 03-123).
News Media Contact: Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0511,
e-mail: Rosemary.Kimball@fcc.gov CGB. Contact Thomas Chandler at (202)
418-1475, e-mail: Thomas.Chandler@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-0597
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-256273A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-256273A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-256273A1.txt>

Released: 01/26/2005. FCC CLARIFIES THAT CERTAIN TELECOMMUNICATIONS
RELAY SERVICES (TRS) MARKETING AND CALL HANDLING PRACTICES ARE IMPROPER AND REMINDS THAT VIDEO RELAY SERVICE (VRS) MAY NOT BE USED AS A VIDEO REMOTE INTERPRETING SERVICE. (DA No. 05-141). (Dkt No 98-67, 03-123). CGB.
Contact: Thomas Chandler at (202) 418-1475, e-mail:
Thomas.Chandler@fcc.gov, TTY: (202) 418-0597
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-141A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-141A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-141A1.txt>

TELECOMMUNICATIONS RELAY SERVICES AND SPEECH-TO-SPEECH SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING AND SPEECH DISABILITIES. Adopted Declaratory Ruling in this proceeding. Denied the Hands On's Petition. (Dkt No.
98-67, 03-123). Action by: Chief, Consumer &
Governmental Affairs Bureau. Adopted: 01/24/2005 by Declaratory Ruling.
(DA No. 05-140). CGB
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-140A1.doc>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-140A1.pdf>
<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-05-140A1.txt>

2. The FCC has denied the following request for an exemption from the closed captioning requirements:

CSR 6288
Love A Child, Inc. was denied a waiver of the Commission's closed captioning requirements in the following Memorandum Opinion and Order which was Adopted: January 24, 2005 and Released: January 25, 2005 By the Deputy Chief, Policy Division, Media Bureau:

I. INTRODUCTION
1. In this Order, we address a petition for exemption from Section 79.1 of the Commission's rules, implementing Section 713 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the "Act"), filed by Love A Child, Inc. ("Love A Child") regarding its program Love A Child aired on various television stations in Florida and Tennessee and on the Daystar Network in Dallas, Texas. Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc. ("TDI") filed an opposition to the petition for exemption. For the reasons discussed below, the petition filed by Love A Child is denied, to the extent stated herein.

2. In Implementation of Section 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 Video Programming Accessibility, the Commission established rules and implementation schedules for the closed captioning of video programming. In enacting Section 713, Congress recognized that, in certain limited situations, the costs of captioning might impose an undue burden on video programming providers or owners, and it authorized the Commission to adopt appropriate exemptions. Congress defined "undue burden" to mean "significant difficulty or expense." When determining if the closed captioning requirements will impose an undue burden, the statute requires the Commission to consider the following factors: (1) the nature and cost of the closed captions for the programming; (2) the impact on the operation of the provider or program owner; (3) the financial resources of the provider or program owner; and (4) the type of operations of the provider or program owner. A petition for exemption must be supported by sufficient evidence to demonstrate that compliance with the requirements to close caption video programming would cause an undue burden. Petitioners also are instructed to submit any other information they deem appropriate and relevant to the Commission's final determination.

II. DISCUSSION

3. Love A Child submitted a petition for exemption requesting a waiver from compliance with the captioning requirements. The petition, however, fails to disclose information regarding the program's finances and assets, gross or net proceeds, or possible sponsorships solicited for assisting in captioning. Love A Child provided no documentation from which its financial condition can be assessed. Without such documentation, it is impossible for the Commission to determine whether there is sufficient justification supporting an exemption from the closed captioning requirements. Our decision herein is without prejudice to Love A Child bringing a future petition for exemption that adequately documents that compliance with our rules will impose an undue burden. Implicit in the Section 79.1(f) requirement of a showing as to the financial resources of a petitioner, such as Love A Child, is the question of the extent to which the distributors of its programming can be called upon to contribute towards the captioning expense. Thus, any subsequent petition should document whether petitioner solicited captioning assistance from the distributors of its programming and the response to these solicitations. Absent such a petition, petitioner is given 3 months from the release date of this Order to come into complete compliance with the rules.

III. ORDERING CLAUSE

4. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the petition for exemption from the closed captioning requirements of Section 79.1 of the Commission's rules IS DENIED. Petitioner must comply with the captioning requirements within 3 months from the release date of this Order.
5. This action is taken under delegated authority pursuant to Section 0.283 of the Commission's rules.

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

Steven A. Broeckaert
Deputy Chief, Policy Division
Media Bureau

This MO&O can be downloaded on the FCC's website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/caption_exemptions.html.

Black Line Back to home page

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Optimized for a width of 800 - This page last updated: January 10, 2013
© Copyright 2007 by the Technology Access Program - All Rights Reserved