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Re: ADA requirement? [was RE: Attitude Adjustment Plea]

From: HowRose <HowRose@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 16:42:05 EST
Message-ID: <6e69b11f.34c66baf@aol.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
In a message dated 98-01-21 10:54:46 EST, you write:

<< I  absolutely agree with Love's comment that accessibility is a moral
 and ethical obligation.
 
 Does anyone have information on the legal status?
 
 E.g. the argument that a web site is functionally one of the  "public
 accommodations" that ADA mandates to be accessible?    I've heard that,
 unfortunately, ADA was drawn too narrowly for this extension to apply.
 But I'm not a lawyer.
 
 Len >>

I happen to be a lawyer who practices in the ADA area, and I can say that the
ADA was indeed drawn too narrowly to apply to websites. It may be possible to
apply the ADA to websites on the premise that the websites are operated by
public entities or public accommodations and that their programs or services
being offered are subject to Titles II and III of the ADA. That's worth
exploring. However, there are vast number of websites that are operated by
individuals who are not subject to the ADA as well as websites operated by
entities in other countries. The ADA only applies to programs and services
provided on American soil. Consequently, the issue then becomes does the fact
that overseas companies hawk their products over the internet subject them to
the ADA by the sole fact that consumers can access their programs/services on
American soil?

In addition, the ADA is a complaint driven process which is slow and
cumbersome, removing each barrier one by one and rarely removing many barriers
in one fell stroke. We should be focusing on how to make website development
automatically accessible and therefore idiot-proof. This would preempt any
attempt, however misguided, to make a website that happens to be inaccessible.

Just my two cents,
Howard.
Received on Wednesday, 21 January 1998 17:22:08 GMT

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