Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

63 Federal Communications Law Journal 553 (2011)


Video descriptions allow people who have visual impairments to get the full benefits from television. Through voiceovers those who have problems seeing are told what is happening on screen allowing them to get the most out of viewing television. However, the Federal Communications Commission currently lacks the authority to require broadcasters to create video descriptions for their programs following the decision in Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission. This situation contrasts with closed caption which allows viewers with hearing problems read the dialog being said on screen. The FCC retained the power to regulate closed captions and as a result they are widely used. Many of the court's reasons in Motion Picture Association of America are no longer compelling as a result of digital television transition. Video descriptions can become as widely used as closed captioning as a result of new legislation or increased funding.