John Slatin AccessU 2013 Legal Update (L Feingold)


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Presentation about laws, cases and settlements regarding digital accessibility (web, mobile and more) delivered at John Slatin AccessU on May 14, 2013 in Austin, TX.

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  • Disclosure: This presentation is for informational purposes only: it is not legal advice. If you think you have a legal claim you should contact a lawyer. Image information: This brushstroke painting, by 18th century zen master Hakuin Ekaku, shows a blind man crossing a bridge. For this power point, the image symbolizes the path to accessibility. Traditionally the bridge in Zen painting is the bridge to enlightenment. I like the image because full inclusion, usability and accessibility is certainly enlightened. While traditionally blindness was too often used to symbolize lack of insight or knowledge, we can alter that meaning in today’s world and consider the blind men on the bridge as pioneers, leaders, advocates and champions.
  • Image information: See notes in slide 1
  • Image information: This slide is illustrated by a picture of a young child reaching to open a two-handled heavy door. This image symbolizes the need to look behind the laws (behind the door) to understand their core meaning. Accessibility laws are grounded in the civil rights of people with disabilities to full integration into all aspects of society.
  • Slide abbreviations: CVAA: 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Additional Detail: State laws include anti-discrimination laws, accessible equipment procurement laws, and obligations when receiving state funds.
  • Abbreviations in slide: CRPD: Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. More info at Additional information: For links to digital accessibility law and policy in countries around the world, visit
  • Slide abbreviations: DOJ refers to the United States Department of Justice
  • Further slide information: Airlines are not covered by the ADA. There is a different law called the Air Carriers Access Act. The United States Department of Transportation has pending regulations that will apply to airline website and airline check-in kiosks.
  • Image information: the house key image was chosen to illustrate the idea that various legal strategies have been used to “unlock the door” to digital accessibility. For more information about Structured Negotiations, visit
  • Additional slide information: More information about the successful Netflix ruling in Massachusetts holding that Netflix’ online streaming service is covered by the ADA available at
  • Additional slide information: Referenced cases were brought against Viacom and Facebook by individuals not represented by lawyers. Each pro per plaintiff alleged many claims, including a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each plaintiff alleged that they had a disability (dyslexia in one case, mental illness in the other) and each court said the ADA did not cover the website. These cases are in the minority, and are inconsistent with other court rulings, significant collaborative efforts resulting in settlements, and with statements of the U.S. Department of Justice that the ADA covers websites.
  • Additional slide information: The Google digital book case (Authors Guild v. HathiTrust) is on appeal after a positive district court ruling protecting the universities’ rights to distribute accessible books to, among others, blind students and scholars. Litigation against Philadelphia Library for giving patrons free inaccessible Nook readers that resulted in a settlement requiring accessible ebook readers.
  • Additional slide information: More about Bank of America’s commitment to mobile accessibility and security services at More about MLB’s commitment to mobile accessibility at
  • Additional slide information: A complete list of all settlement agreements, with links, reached as a result of Structured Negotiations, is available at
  • Additional slide information: In the Florida State digital accessibility settlement the University paid $75,000 to each of two student plaintiffs. In the Target website settlement Target paid 6 million dollar in class damages. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) contains a $50,000 penalty for individuals, and a $100,000 penalty for institutions for compliance violations. Note: Any payments received as a result of Structured Negotiations are typically set forth in confidential settlement agreements.
  • Additional image information: The image reading “no lawyers” was chosen as a section break. The following slides address what advocates need to do before consulting a lawyer, and what institutions can do to avoid legal problems around digital accessibility.
  • Additional slide information: For a list, with links, of Accessibility Information Pages on large institutional websites, visit
  • Please remember: This presentation is for informational purposes only. it is not, and does not contain, legal advice. If you think you have a legal claim you should contact a lawyer. If you would like to contact the Law Office of Lainey Feingold, please use
  • John Slatin AccessU 2013 Legal Update (L Feingold)

    1. 1. 2013 AccessU Legal Update:Using the Law on the Path toAccessibilityLainey Feingold / / @LFLegal)May 14, 2013 /Austin, TX USA
    2. 2. Presentation OverviewLawsFederal regulationsLegal strategiesCourt rulingsSettlementsYou!
    3. 3. Behind the Laws:Digital Access is a Civil RightRight to: Information Education Services ParticipationRight to be Free from discrimination
    4. 4. alreadyU.S. Laws ⌃Require Digital Access Americanw/Disabilities Act Sections 503,504, 508 CVAA IDEA State Laws
    5. 5. International Laws• CRPD• Digital AccessibilityAround the Globe
    6. 6. Update: U.S. Federal RegulationsDOJ Private SectorDOJ State + Local Gov’tSection 508
    7. 7. Digital Accessibility and Airlines(not a pretty picture -- yet)
    8. 8. Legal Strategies For DigitalInclusion Structured Negotiations Lawsuits State Attorney GeneralInvestigations Federal AdministrativeComplaints
    9. 9. Update: Court Rulings AboutDigital Accessibility
    10. 10. Two Courts . . . Two Rulings
    11. 11. Disappointing Court ResultsIs the Web a “Place”?Viacom / Facebook
    12. 12. Reading Rights + the Legal LandscapeUC BerkeleyGoogle Digital BooksPhiladelphia LibraryNooksFlorida State
    13. 13. Update: Web and Mobile AppAccessibility Settlements
    14. 14. Recent Legal SettlementsMLBMonsterBank of AmericaLevel UpQuicken Loans ArenaDisney
    15. 15. What’s in a Settlement Agreement? AccessibilityStandard 3rdparty content Start + end dates Publicity AccessibilityInformation PageTraining Web development Customer service Monitoring Enforcement All channels (web /app / other??)
    16. 16. Role of Experts and ConsultantsPartner vs. AdversaryCorporate Culture Choosing “Yes”Accessibility / Usability
    17. 17. Coming Down the Road• CNN Captioning• H & R Block• Marriott• JetBlue Airways• Weight Watchers• Grocery Delivery• Maricopa CC• Health Insurance
    18. 18. Law = Money = Business Case Payments toindividuals/organizations Class actiondamages Civil penalties Attorney’s feesand expert costs
    19. 19. First Steps for Advocates On-line contact pages Toll-free phone numbers Facebook Twitter Related brick and mortarstaff
    20. 20. Document Document Document Keep track ofcommunicationsGive deadlinesFollow-up
    21. 21. Want to Avoid Legal Action?• Start today• AccessibilityInformation Page• Customer Service• Be Responsive
    22. 22. Keeping the (Access) Ball RollingMaintenanceChecklistsCustomer serviceFuture releases
    23. 23. Learn More