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Re: INFO: Disney lawsuit


From: Steve Green
Date: Feb 26, 2011 1:27PM

The UK has possibly the toughest laws in the world with regard to
accessibility, and it is certainly legal for some content not to be
accessible here. The nature of our law is that even if some content is
deemed to be illegal, it is only illegal with respect to the person who
brought the legal action. It is still legal with respect to everyone else.
That is about to change, as our new Equality Act has provision for class
actions (which the DDA did not), but no one has brought such an action yet.

Both the DDA and the Equality Act have the concept of 'reasonableness', so a
court may well decide that it is not reasonable to expect certain types of
content to be accessible. They may also decide that it is not reasonable
(usually on grounds of cost) to expect a content publisher to make certain
content accessible even if it is technically possible. Many factors are
taken into account, particularly the resources available (usually money) to
the content publisher to make the content accessible.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of steven
Sent: 26 February 2011 16:47
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List'
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] INFO: Disney lawsuit

Do you know if it is legal to allow any content to not be accessible? Not
that I am encouraging content to not be accessible, but alot of nature is
simply not accessible and everything man does is in nature's image. I am
just wondering if websites in particular, can be undoubtedly and enforceably
accessible, to be challenged by law?

For example, Disney content is largely visual. Flash technology is still
often best suited for displaying visual content without creative limitation.
Flash content (I love Flash by the way) as an entertainment media is largely
built with visual priority in mind, thus I think most web users who have
encountered Flash entertainment content will have a general expectation
having used it a few times. Thus I am not sure exactly what the problem is
with Disney's content in this instance, other than to say that "in an ideal
world" (which also happens to be the fashionable goal of HTML5 right now) it
could be done another way. And if it was, it likely wouldn't look like it
does ... and being that any person's interest in Disney is the result of
Disney having been allowed to create work as they deemed most likely to
capture our interest in the first place (no compromise), I can't see a
reason to do compromise in this instance, without expecting their product to
'possibly' be portrayed in a less appealing light than the people that would
otherwise be drawn to their products and website would be, in the first

My opinion is also hypothetical, so I find it really interesting to
genuinely feel comfortable between this black and white issue of accessible
web content, as a designer and developer. Is taking Disney to court because
a Flash website is 'still' largely made in an inaccessible way? Whatever the
correct answer, can we really agree on what content will constitute as
content that needs to be accessible to all? afterall, our society doesn't
add lifts to all neighbourhood trees in the off chance that one child in a
wheelchair might want to climb the trees like all the other kids in the
neighbourhood. I know this is a rather flimsy analogy, but I genuinely think
web accessibility has some serious hurdles being that it has been grown in
an often inaccessible world.



-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of
Sent: 26 February 2011 01:53
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] INFO: Disney lawsuit

The issue here regarding the inclusion specifically of Flash content in the
law suit is the issue of how the Flash content was presented on the Disney
web site. If Flash content is improperly labeled or if text is shown in
images it is not read or recognized by screen readers which causes the
accessibility problem. Working in the legal field I'm not sure what the
point of class action status for this case is as it appears that the
attorneys and plaintiffs are not requesting any individual monetary damages
and are merely requesting that corrective action be taken so other than
money possibly being awarded for attorney fees the "deep Pockets" theory
isn't being applied here.
Chuck Krugman, M.S.W., Paralegal
1237 P Street
Fresno ca 93721
----- Original Message -----
From: "steven" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
To: "'WebAIM Discussion List'" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2011 2:55 AM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] INFO: Disney lawsuit

> Interesting, Bevi,
> The part that interests me, is the part that cites:
> "Websites had Flash content that is not accessible to blind users."
> Why mention Flash? If someone knew it was in HTML, they likely
> wouldn't stipulate the technology, unless they had previous bad
> experience. In which case, previous experience using inaccessible
> Flash didn't warrant their need to file a previous lawsuit, yet using
> the Disney website made it inaccessible!? Make me suspiscious.
> It is crazy though ... images can be described to make them
> 'accessible', but let us be honest, you don't come across images on
> the internet that anywhere near describe what a visual person can see.
> Images can convey and prompt feelings and emotions that are not in the
> context that an image was taken or chosen for inclusion on a page. Yet
> people still wouldn't place a lawsuit stipulating that it was a png or
> jpeg image, would they!? Or in that knowing an image is on a page,
> possibly know that there is information that can be gained from it
> that is beyond the html description ... most of the internet would
> need a lawsuit then, especially being that the internet in general is
> much larger than a few Disney pages.
> I too am not happy with how Disney handle their website from what I
> read in the press release you cited, but some visual content should be
> allowed to exist that is not compromised or limited to accommodate
> people it is not targeting ... I think such content has a right to
> co-exists on the internet and rather than outright shun a technology
> like Flash like that, there needs to be some allowance for websites
> like Disney's to at least alert certain users that the content is not
> suitable for them, such as is done with age verification or people of
> a nervous or epileptic nature.
> Regards,
> Steven
> -----Original Message-----
> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Bevi
> Chagnon | PubCom
> Sent: 18 February 2011 17:44
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] INFO: Disney lawsuit
> Class action complaint was filed last September against two Disney
> companies by visually impaired patrons.
> This week the plaintiffs filed their certification brief, which moves
> the lawsuit one step forward.
> Main problems cited:
> - Websites had Flash content that is not accessible to blind users.
> - Websites had video and audio that could not be turned off by blind
> users, which therefore drowned out their screen readers.
> Read the complete press release here:
> http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/02/prweb5073794.htm
> I wonder how well the Disney websites hold up for other disabled visitors.
> Interesting denial from Disney (quoted from the press release):
> "Disney denies that it owes any special obligation to blind persons as a
> group, and asserts that decisions regarding accommodations for its
> visually
> impaired patrons must be made one guest at a time and not as a matter of
> company policy. The complaint also alleges that Disney denies an ability
> to
> estimate the number of visually impaired or blind guests who visit its
> resorts or its websites."
> Huh. Disney World, Disney Land, Disney cruise ships, Disney resorts, and
> all
> the other Disney theme-park-related ventures don't think they have a
> worthwhile interest in blind people. Very interesting to know!
> - Bevi Chagnon
> : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :
> : : : : : : : : : : : : :
> Bevi Chagnon | PubCom | <mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> > <EMAIL REMOVED> |
> 301-585-8805
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