[technology taskforce] [Accessibility-wg] Fwd: Victory in Scribd case: Internet-based Companies Must Comply with the ADA

Gunela Astbrink g.astbrink at gsa.com.au
Wed Mar 25 03:01:43 UTC 2015

Thank you, Laura for your update.

We look forward to following progress and assisting you in this process 
where we can.

Kind regards,

Laura Bengford wrote on 25/03/15 05:30 :
> Hi Gunela and Judith,
> Just a quick update on the Web Accessibility process. Procurement are in
> the final stages of facilitating the process of making a selection and
> tendering the bid to start the work of icann.org.  The scope of the work
> includes assessment of all assets on the website, including videos so we
> are expecting standards, recommended tools, and guidelines to come out of
> this effort.
> It may be helpful to engage Glenn and Joly in this aspect of the project
> to leverage their expertise and validate the approach.
> Congrats Haben on your victory!
> Thank you,
> Laura Bengford
> Senior Product Manager
> +1.310.266.2761
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gunela Astbrink <g.astbrink at gsa.com.au>
> Date: Monday, March 23, 2015 6:28 PM
> To: "accessibility-wg at atlarge-lists.icann.org"
> <accessibility-wg at atlarge-lists.icann.org>, "ttf at atlarge-lists.icann.org"
> <ttf at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
> Subject: Re: [Accessibility-wg] [technology taskforce] Fwd: Victory in
> Scribd case: Internet-based Companies Must Comply with the ADA
>> Thanks, Judith for that information.
>> We look forward to hearing from Laura on the current state of play with
>> the web accessibility and remediation process. Has the successful
>> tenderer started?
>> I would think that video captioning on the ICANN websites would be part
>> of the ongoing work of staff to ensure that this is part of an
>> accessible website. And decisions will need to be made on the process of
>> making webinars and meetings also accessible.
>> It's timely to have another meeting of the Accessibility Taskforce to
>> discuss some of these thoughts.
>> Judith Hellerstein wrote on 24/03/15 12:16 :
>>> I just wanted to send this note out that I had received from Haben Girma
>>> who works with the ISOC SF Bay ALS about the victory she just had over
>>> Scribd.  Depending on what settlement that Scribd decides on and other
>>> lawsuits in different circuits it seems there is coming many lawsuits
>>> against companies and businesses that do not comply with the ADA. This
>>> is important for both these committees because it highlights the
>>> importance of making our webinars, meetings, videos, and websites or
>>> apps that ICANN creates to be accessible to everyone.
>>> ICANN is finally working on revamping its website to be compliant with
>>> the WCAG 2.0 rules, but it should also look to ensure that all the
>>> videos and webinars that are produced are also accessible and currently
>>> they are not. As Glenn and others showed it is not that difficult to get
>>> videos and webinars captioned after the fact so some effort to be put
>>> into to doing this to make sure that ICANN is compliant. Since ICANN
>>> owns all the video rights it is not difficult to do. On the TEch Task
>>> force call we reviewed several different tools that can do this and
>>> there are man other tools that can be used.
>>> Joly MacFie of ISOC NY ALS and Glenn McKnight and others within ICANN
>>> have the skill and probably would be happy to help others who were
>>> interested in doing this to learn more about how it is done.
>>> Best,
>>> Judith
>>> _________________________________________________________________________
>>> Judith Hellerstein, Founder & CEO
>>> Hellerstein & Associates
>>> 3001 Veazey Terrace NW, Washington DC 20008
>>> Phone: (202) 362-5139  Skype ID: judithhellerstein
>>> E-mail:Judith at jhellerstein.com    Website:www.jhellerstein.com
>>> Linked In:www.linkedin.com/in/jhellerstein/
>>> Opening Telecom & Technology Opportunities Worldwide
>>> -------- Forwarded Message --------
>>> Subject: 	Victory in Scribd case: Internet-based Companies Must Comply
>>> with the ADA
>>> Date: 	Mon, 23 Mar 2015 23:39:56 +0000
>>> From: 	Haben Girma <hgirma at dralegal.org>
>>> To: 	Judith Hellerstein <judith at jhellerstein.com>
>>> Dear Judith,
>>> In my first lawsuit as a Skadden Fellowship Attorney at Disability
>>> Rights Advocates, we just achieved an exciting victory that will change
>>> how Silicon Valley thinks of accessibility. On March 19, 2015, Judge
>>> William K. Sessions III issued a beautifully written opinion holding
>>> that companies providing services through websites and apps must comply
>>> with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A copy of the Court¹s
>>> opinion is here:
>>> http://www.dralegal.org/sites/dralegal.org/files/pressreleases/30opiniond
>>> enyingmotiontodismiss.pdfin-scribd-case-internet-based-companies-must-com
>>> ply
>>> Below is more background on the case. Please contact me if you would
>>> like further information.
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Haben
>>> Background on National Federation of the Blind v. Scribd
>>> Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a lawsuit last
>>> year, in the United States District Court for the District of
>>> Vermont, against San Francisco-based Scribd, Inc. for failing to design
>>> its website and apps in a manner accessible to blind readers. Rather
>>> than providing access to blind readers who want to read the more than 40
>>> million books and documents in the Scribd collection, Scribd moved to
>>> dismiss the case. Scribd argued that the ADA applies to public physical
>>> locations, thus allegedly exempting Internet-based businesses like
>>> Scribd.
>>> Confirming what DRA, NFB, and other advocates have argued, the Court
>>> ruled on March 19th that the ADA does indeed cover online businesses.
>>> ³Now that the internet plays such a critical role in the personal and
>>> professional lives of Americans, excluding disabled persons from access
>>> to covered entities that use it as their principal means of reaching the
>>> public would defeat the purpose of this important civil rights
>>> legislation,² the Court wrote.
>>> Why did NFB sue Scribd?
>>> The NFB turned to litigation to compel Scribd to program its website and
>>> apps for accessibility after Scribd failed to commit to providing access
>>> for blind readers. Scribd offers an internet-based ³personal
>>> digital library² that allows sighted subscribers to access a collection
>>> of over 40 million titles. For a monthly fee of $8.99, sighted
>>> subscribers gain unlimited access to Scribd¹s large collection through
>>> its website and apps, as well as other services, including the ability
>>> to upload their own work to the Scribd collection and participate in
>>> social media features. The website and apps that Scribd uses to provide
>>> its subscribers with access to electronic documents are not accessible
>>> to blind people.
>>> How do blind people access digital media?
>>> The blind use software called screenreaders that allows the content of
>>> websites, apps, and documents to be read aloud or displayed in Braille
>>> on a connected Braille device. When websites, apps, or documents are not
>>> properly coded, they cannot be accessed with the technology used by the
>>> blind.
>>> What does this mean for Silicon Valley and the rest of the tech world?
>>> The Court¹s ruling signals to businesses the importance of designing
>>> websites and apps for accessibility. The decision impacts all entities
>>> that conduct business in Vermont over the Internet, and just about
>>> every online business has customers in Vermont. Because the Court ruled
>>> that the ADA covers Internet-based businesses, companies will need to
>>> ensure their Internet-based services are accessible to Americans with
>>> disabilities, unless doing so would amount to an undue burden for a
>>> particular entity.  To design an accessible website or app, companies
>>> should reference the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, a set of
>>> technical standards for making websites accessible to people with
>>> disabilities, available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/.
>>> What does the disability community think?
>>> Advocates around the country are celebrating the Court¹s confirmation
>>> that the ADA applies to online businesses. Only one other court has held
>>> that the ADA covers virtual businesses, National Association of the Deaf
>>> v. Netflix, Inc. Together, the Scribd and Netflix decisions promise
>>> Americans with disabilities that the ADA¹s protections apply to services
>>> over the Internet.
>>> Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
>>> said: ³We wholeheartedly applaud the court¹s ruling, which recognizes
>>> that the Americans with Disabilities Act is a comprehensive civil
>>> rights law intended to prevent discrimination against the blind and
>>> others with disabilities and to promote our full and equal participation
>>> in all aspects of society. There can be no denying that full
>>> participation in the economy and society of the twenty-first century
>>> requires access to services provided over the internet. If blind people
>>> are denied such participation, we will be more segregated and isolated
>>> than we have ever been. Fortunately, the process of making internet
>>> services accessible to us is straightforward. We hope that Scribd will
>>> now focus on providing us access to its vast library of online books and
>>> documents rather than on seeking to deny it. We further hope that other
>>> companies will take the court¹s message about the importance of
>>> accessibility to heart and make their online services accessible.²
>>> Through this case, Disability Rights Advocates works to change attitudes
>>> about accessibility not only at Scribd, but throughout the digital
>>> services industry. We hope companies will feel inspired to make
>>> their services accessible after reading the Court¹s decision.
>>> The Lawyers
>>> The plaintiffs are represented in this matter by Laurence Paradis, Haben
>>> Girma, and Rebecca Rodgers of the firm Disability Rights Advocates;
>>> Daniel F. Goldstein and Gregory P. Care of the Baltimore firm
>>> Brown, Goldstein and Levy, LLP; and Emily J. Joselson of the Middlebury,
>>> Vermont firm Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP.
>>> About Disability Rights Advocates
>>> With offices in New York and California, Disability Rights Advocates
>>> (DRA) is one of the leading nonprofit disability rights legal centers in
>>> the nation.  Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities
>>> for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. In the
>>> organization¹s 20+ year history, DRA has taken on more than 400 cases
>>> and won almost all‹achieving dramatic improvements for people with
>>> disabilities seeking health care, employment, transportation, education,
>>> disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing. www.dralegal.org
>>> <http://www.dralegal.org>
>>> About the National Federation of the Blind
>>> The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the
>>> characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the
>>> expectations of blind people, because low expectations create
>>> obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you
>>> want; blindness is not what holds you back. www.nfb.org
>>> <http://www.nfb.org>
>>> Contacts
>>> Chris Danielsen
>>> Director of Public Relations, National Federation of the Blind
>>> (410) 659-9314, extension 2330, (410) 262-1281 (Cell),
>>> cdanielsen at nfb.org <mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>
>>> Haben Girma
>>> Skadden Fellowship Attorney, Disability Rights Advocates
>>> (510) 665-8644, hgirma at dralegal.org <mailto:hgirma at dralegal.org>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> ttf mailing list
>>> ttf at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>>> https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/ttf
>> --
>> Gunela Astbrink
>> GSA InfoComm
>> PO Box 600
>> Ballina NSW 2478
>> Australia
>> Mobile: +61 417 715738
>> Email: g.astbrink at gsa.com.au
>> www.gsa.com.au
>> _______________________________________________
>> accessibility-wg mailing list
>> accessibility-wg at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>> https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/accessibility-wg

Gunela Astbrink
GSA InfoComm
PO Box 600
Ballina NSW 2478
Mobile: +61 417 715738
Email: g.astbrink at gsa.com.au

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