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Re: AOL Case Settles

From: Scott Luebking <phoenixl@netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 13:34:05 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <200007262034.NAA01900@netcom.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Since AOL owns Netscape and is probably using Netscape technology in
developing AOL 6.0, is this an opportunity to get Netscape browser
accessible also?


> Hello-
> Today I received the enclosed press release on the settlement of the
> Americans with Disabilities lawsuit against AOL case concerning their
> inaccessible browser and website.
> Cynthia D. Waddell
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------
> NFB:  Curtis Chong 410-659-9314, ext. 349
> 						Daniel Goldstein, Esq.
> 410-659-0717
> 						Joseph Davis, Esq.
> 617-482-0600
> 						Stanton Communications
> 410-727-6855
> 					AOL: Rich D'Amato 703-265-1746
> AOL 6.0 To Work with Screen Reader Interface
> Enabling Easier Navigation for the Blind
> NFB withdraws lawsuit against America Online, Inc.
> BALTIMORE, MD (7/26/00) --- On the 10th anniversary of the passage of the
> Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Federation of the Blind
> (NFB) and America Online, Inc. (AOL) announced today that, working together,
> they have made "real progress in achieving their mutual goal of making the
> AOL service accessible to the blind."  NFB also announced that it has
> withdrawn its complaint against the company.
> NFB had filed suit against AOL late last year, charging that AOL's Internet
> service is inaccessible to the blind, thereby violating the ADA.
> According to the agreement announced today, AOL will continue its existing
> efforts to ensure that the next version of AOL's software (AOL 6.0) is
> compatible with screen reader assistive technology which makes it accessible
> to blind users. AOL plans to release the new AOL 6.0 software this fall.
> Today's agreement also specifies that AOL will undertake steps to assure
> that the existing and future content of AOL-developed areas of the AOL
> service will be largely accessible to the blind.  Under the Agreement, the
> NFB retains the right to renew its claims after a period of one year.
> NFB and AOL will work closely together to ensure continued progress on
> accessibility. In addition, AOL has underscored this commitment to
> accessibility by posting an accessibility policy on its Web site.
> In announcing the agreement, NFB President Marc Maurer stated, "The
> willingness of AOL to cooperate with us is a clear indication that this
> company values equality of opportunity for all. Their reputation for
> first-class interactive service is well known. Their (more)
>  NFB Withdraws Suit/Page Two
> plans to ensure quality of opportunity for the blind and other people with
> disabilities, and their clear statement of an accessibility policy,
> demonstrate a first-class regard for all communities that should help to
> ensure that AOL remains accessible, even as its technology continues to
> change and improve."
> Barry Schuler, President, AOL Interactive Services Group, said: "We are
> committed to meeting the specialized needs of AOL's increasingly diverse
> membership.  Executing our existing plans for integrating screen reader and
> other technologies for our disabled members is a part of that commitment. We
> are pleased to have had the opportunity to detail our accessibility plans to
> the NFB and appreciate the insight and support we received from them, and
> other organizations, in crafting our new Accessibility Policy. We look
> forward to continuing our dialogue with the disabled community, and with
> anyone else who is dedicated to making this new medium accessible to all
> consumers."
> NFB commended AOL for its progress toward enabling popular screen reader
> software with the next version of its software so that the blind community
> can take full advantage of the many features and functions that have made
> the service so valuable and useful to its members.
> NFB's lawsuit had charged that the AOL service "is incompatible with screen
> access software programs for the blind." As a result, blind people did not
> have access to the nation's largest Internet service provider and its nearly
> 22 million subscribers worldwide.
> "We know that Internet service providers and Web site publishers were well
> aware of this suit. We hope they will take note of, and be guided by, this
> agreement and AOL's leadership on these issues," Dr. Maurer noted.
> He continued, "Blind people have the same need for information that sighted
> people have. We have enough talent and willingness to work. But we need
> access and opportunity."
> The National Federation of the Blind, headquartered in Baltimore, MD, is a
> 50,000-member organization of people with over 700 chapters nationwide.
> Established in 1940, NFB is the voice of the nation's blind, bringing
> together blind people from all professions and parts of the country. NFB
> operates the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind,
> which incorporates all access technology for new products that provide
> information to the blind.
> # # #
Received on Wednesday, 26 July 2000 16:34:50 UTC

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