W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2002

Re: Legal requirements RE: statistics

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 06:02:11 -0500 (EST)
To: <kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com>
cc: Martin Sloan <martin.sloan@orange.net>, "'Kynn Bartlett'" <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>, "'Harry Woodrow'" <harrry@email.com>, "'Denise Wood'" <Denise_Wood@operamail.com>, "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0201160549310.20590-100000@tux.w3.org>
With regard to browsers it will be interesting to see what the final result
of the NFB/AOL case is - as far as I am aware the case was temporarily set
aside in the hopes that the two parties could reach agreement. Given that
part of that case was about browsers, it has the potential to have the same
impact in that area that the SOCOG case had for content.

An alternative scenario in Australia is the case of courseware tools which
are designed to provide publishing, chat systems, etc. I know that there are
real contracts on hold because these tools do not meet the Authoring Tool
Accessibiltiy Guidelines at any level, and the people who are potentially
committing large sums of money to these systems, plus support and training,
are concerned about being stuck with something expensive and still needing to
provide a paralell alternative that is accessible. Again, if a student at a
University brought a case against such software, it has the potential to
create precedent.

Of course nobody knows what a court will do until afterwards, although
lawyers are paid for their ability to have a pretty well educated guess. I
think the reason people avoid courts is because they don't know how they
work, and are scared off. (This is a common tactic in consumer cases - if a
business tells someone to take them to court over something which has caused
a few hundred dollars worth of damage, or inconvenienced them for a few days,
they know that most people won't bother. It applies in larger cases as well).

So the W3C is not in trouble for not having a triple-A compliant site if
nobody makes a way for them to be in trouble. (HREOC, the Australian Human
Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, has stated that it is probably
itself, in violation of Australian legal requirements it enforces...)

I don't think the legal argument is the only argument there is, I don't think
it is the best reason for accessibility, but I think it is helpful to be as
aware of how it might work as possible, because it is an argument that does
resonate with people whose decisions include weighing financial and PR
responsibilities.

cheers

Charles

On Tue, 15 Jan 2002 kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com wrote:

  I wrote:
  > > Would you likewise state that browser makers who do not enforce
  > > the HTML 4.01 standard are likely to be found violation of quasi-
  > > law?

  Martin wrote:
  > As far as I am aware, there is no law which requires that browser makers
  > encorporate the latest HTML standards into their browsers.

  What about the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines?  They are produced
  by the W3C in the same process as that which produced the WCAG
  Recommendation, and hold the same status within the W3C.  Should the
  developers of software fear lawsuits for not following UAAG if web
  developers fear lawsuits (or criminal penalties or whatever) based on
  WCAG?

  Is the W3C in trouble for having a site which is not triple-AAA
  compliant?

  Then why aren't more lawsuits being filed?  Is there a shortage of
  ambulance chasing lawyers or something?

  --Kynn
Received on Wednesday, 16 January 2002 06:03:27 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:14:00 GMT