ADA Guidelines

A recent article by the Wall Street Journal brings attention to the growing number of lawsuits being filed against businesses under the ADA due to inaccessible websites.  The Internet has become a way of doing business and is no different than a physical store in many ways.   The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently reviewing the ADA and is expected to issue new regulations on website accessibility later this year that will take a much broader view of the ADA’s jurisdiction over websites. 

Read the full article, Disabled Sue Over Web Shopping.

Netflix agrees to provide captioning for all video content on their website. This ends class-action lawsuit that National Association for the Deaf (NAD) filed in 2010, claiming that Netflix's website was a "place of public accommodation" that was out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Netflix spent a fair amount of time trying to get the lawsuit kicked out saying that the ADA didn't apply in this case, because it was superseded by a new law directing the FCC to set rules for online captioning. In June, Netflix definitively lost that argument, when a Massachusetts federal judge ruled (PDF) that the new law was meant to "complement, not supplant" the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Netflix Agreement

Netflix has agreed to:

  • Speedily caption new content - Netflix will put captions on new content within 30 days by 2014; within 14 days by 2015 and within 7 days by 2016
  • Netflix currently provides service on more than 1,000 devices and its captioning service works on most, but not all, of those.  In this agreement, they promise to make "good faith, diligent efforts" to get it working on all devices but is not obligated to get it 100% device compatible.
  • Netflix will pay $755,000 to plaintiffs' lawyers who prosecuted the lawsuit, as well as $40,000 for the decree to be implemented over the next four years.

Netflix Settlement Documents & Articles

What is ADA Compliance?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design in September 2010. These standards state that all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

The ADA differs from Section 508 regulations, which are an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and apply to all information technology, including computer hardware, software and documentation.

In June, a Massachusetts judge ruled that a lawsuit can go forward against Netflix to provide captions for its Watch Instantly streaming content. Netflix hoped to get the suit, brought by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and others, thrown out of court. But Federal District Court Judge Michael Ponsor disagreed.

Our thought leadership and expertise in accessibility is internationally-recognized and we leverage it to help you lead your industry, reach new audiences, gain opportunities and reduce legal exposure.

Interactive Accessibility will help you understand the laws for website and web application accessibility.

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