An economical, real-time solution for automatic censoring of selected target words.

As the FCC requires TV and radio broadcasters to censor indecent and objectionable language and the current manual staffing solutions are expensive and ineffective, WordStopper™ has been developed as an inexpensive, automated alternative to automatically “bleep” target words.

From the beginning, television and radio stations (and some cable programmers) have had trouble finding the best method of blocking obscene or other objectionable language and audio material in live news, sports, and other programming. Hundreds of incidents occur every year on large networks, small market stations, and everything in between. It is technically a violation of federal law to air indecent or profane language between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm.

WordStopper™ will work in VFI’s existing station equipment and require the network or station to briefly delay their audio and video. (Most networks already have this delay in effect.) The amount of delay can be set by the network or station. If a station already has a delay device, the VFI unit will work with that unit; if it does not, VFI will put a delay card into the VFI unit (at additional cost). WordStopper™ will come with a master vocabulary of 70+ words that can be blocked. Each network or station will choose, based on contemporary local community standards, which material to block and which material to pass. As with all VFI products, WordStopper™ will only be sold as a monthly service that will include ongoing support and updates.


Background

Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility to administratively enforce these laws. The FCC has defined broadcast indecency as “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.” Indecent programming contains patently offensive sexual or excretory material that does not rise to the level of obscenity. The FCC may revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture, or issue a warning if a station airs obscene, indecent, or profane material. The base monetary sanction for violation of the FCC’s indecency, profanity, and/or obscenity restrictions is $7,000 per violation. The FCC may adjust this monetary sanction upwards, up to a current statutory maximum of $32,500 per violation.

Because of these heavy fines, radio and TV stations for years have tried multiple ways to block objectionable language from getting on the air. These efforts have included built-in delays and manual intervention, yet they are expensive and for the most part have failed.

It became clear during the development of SimulCaption that a subset of VFI’s patent pending technology could be used to sport specific language and to take immediate action without human intervention. VFI created a unique process to eliminate objectionable language in live broadcasts – WordStopper™.

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