Patterico's Pontifications

9/28/2006

More Overlawyering

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:15 pm

Via See Dubya comes more insanity from our courts:

A federal district court judge ruled Wednesday that a retailer may be sued if its website is inaccessible to the blind. The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind against Target Corp.

The suit charges that Target’s website (http://www.target.com) is inaccessible to the blind, and therefore violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Disabled Persons Act.

I’m not joking.

Next up: major record labels sued because their music cannot be heard by the deaf.

52 Responses to “More Overlawyering”

  1. Next up: major record labels sued because their music cannot be heard by the deaf.

    You’re really not familiar with acessibility software for the blind?

    actus (10527e)

  2. AND LET US THE FIRST THINGS WE DO LET US KILL ALL THE LAWYERS. WLIIIAM SHAKESPEAR i mean this is just as bad as that idiot who tried to sue McDonalds and Burger King for making hhim overweight

    krazy kagu (b1eb84)

  3. Oh, to be a fat, blind deaf, lawyer! What a fortune I could make !

    Mike K (416363)

  4. Next up. The Highway Department sued for not making road signs and traffic lights accessible to blind drivers.

    Lew Clark (cfc318)

  5. Can you sue a strip club for not making exotic dancer’s accessible to the blind — and, subsequently, as a method of compliance, could they lawfully allow their blind customers to cop a feel while on stage?

    I forsee many people pretending to blind if this becomes the settled law of the land.

    Alas, the Supreme Court or another court on the way (probably the next one up the chain) will overturn this nonsense.

    Still, a blind man can dream…

    Christoph (9824e6)

  6. “Next up. The Highway Department sued for not making road signs and traffic lights accessible to blind drivers.”

    The first time the true dimensions of the ADA struck me was when I saw a sign in the sterile area of an airport reading “Pilot’s Briefing Room” with the legend repeated in Braille.

    Jimmy (e98ac3)

  7. This might not be the slam dunk for overlawyering one thinks it is. What if software exists – a world of software that can be converted to spoken words when scanned? Then might not Target be smart, as well as compliant, to create a web site for the blind, with the same content as for sighted folks?

    RJN (e12f22)

  8. RJN:

    Please tell me if such software would be capable of not only transcribing the text of a website, but also the visual elements that describe an item for sale in a compact and meaningful fashion… if it was a simple matter of parsing out text, I’d be in support of further discussion of this issue. Otherwise, we are talking about a whole different kettle of fish.

    Joli Rouge (94d817)

  9. PatteriBro,

    It’s hard to judge this decision without – you know – actually being able to read the decision itself.

    Nonetheless, if you trust the media report – as you apparently do here – the dispute was simply one of whether websites like physical locations must comply with disability laws. That’s not really much of a stretch or “insane.” It appears that the issue of “reasonable accomodation” and its the subgenre defenses of impracticability or undue burden were not even at issue.

    The only principle this post stands for is a generalized stand against “reasonable accomodation” for the disabled.

    Your final example really exposes your ignorance because the issue is not about seeing or hearing that which the blind or deaf can’t, but about accessibility to information where an accomodation can be reasonably secured. I also wouldn’t be surprised that the ADA’s regulatory scheme and administrative rules specifically excluded recorded music from coverage.

    Have a goodnight dreaming of new ways to demean the blind, my brother.

    Macswain (2aadc0)

  10. Joli: I couldn’t write the software, but I can see a possibility of replacing pictures of clothes, say, with descriptions, sufficiently informative, of the content of the pictures.

    The more I think about this, the more possible it seems to be. Information about the visual world is, plainly, already being delivered to, or available to, blind people. A web site, say Target’s, would have to have this visual information encoded so that a blind person’s computer program could read it and speak it.

    RJN (e12f22)

  11. I thought commercial speech was protected under the First Amendment.

    That’s what Target’s site is, right? “Commerical speech”?

    See Dubya (ccdbb8)

  12. Macswain,

    You just can’t help but take a contrary position to everything, can you? No matter how far you have to stretch reason and employ snarkiness, you’re going to spot the rug. Okay, how is this?

    The only principle this post stands for is a generalized stand against “reasonable accomodation” for the disabled.

    First, where do you get that interpretation?… there was never any opposition in the post to “reasonable accomodation”. Second, must every website now make that “reasonable accomodation”? If so, is that still reasonable? What about blogs, should they be required also? And newspapers? Should they all be required to publish Braille editions?

    Your final example really exposes your ignorance because the issue is not about seeing or hearing that which the blind or deaf can’t, but about accessibility to information where an accomodation can be reasonably secured.

    You calling somebody else ignorant… bwaa haa haa *snort* *snort* haaa!!!! Just because you say that is the issue, doesn’t make it so.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised that the ADA’s regulatory scheme and administrative rules specifically excluded recorded music from coverage.

    But you don’t know for sure because you were in such a hurry to spot the rug here you didn’t even check. I don’t think you’re correct, but you’re the one who made the statement, support it. I’m not going to do your research for you. Why not link it to your own blog? I still won’t go, but you might sucker somebody else.

    Have a goodnight dreaming of new ways to demean the blind, my brother.

    It’s not about demeaning anybody. If blind people choose to get their information from a single source, they should accept that the source may have limitations. Just like newspapers (can’t hear them), radio (can’t see it), television (no way to tell texture or odor), etc… Any information at the Target.com website could be obtained through the telephone by calling the local store. There are already reasonable alternatives to using the internet for something that is currently not feasible. Requiring it to be feasible is the folly here that the post highlights. That’s the point, and you missed it completely because you are only interested in being oppositional.

    And Patterico’s example of recorded music is especially apt in this case. If you go to YouTube as a deaf person, must every YouTube video have subtitles? Get a clue please.

    If Macswain had his way:

    1. Cable companies would be required to include one station that shows the same episode of “Gilligan’s Island” over and over for people who have chronic deja-vu.

    2. All websites would automatically redirect to a new site every three seconds to avoid discrimination against people with ADHD, although people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder could opt out by typing out all the Shakespeare sonnets… three times.

    3. Doctors who treat hypochondriacs would be fined for diagnosing less than 7 separate diseases/disorders and/or fewer than 11 medications.

    4. Olympics and Special Olympics would now be combined.

    Stashiu3 (0da7ed)

  13. RJN,

    I agree those things would be nice… but to require them is not “reasonable” for this medium. It may be a very successful marketing strategy if companies chose to adopt it.

    But requiring it of all websites would be an undue burden. I say that because where does it stop? If Target is required, then every website that has any type of choice (including E-bay, download sites, etc…) will be required to follow along. It’s just not a reasonable expectation with the current development of the internet.

    Stashiu3 (0da7ed)

  14. Patterico’s comparison is poor, as accessibility for the blind is already standard practice for many commercial and corporate web sites, such as eBay and Priceline. It doesn’t require any new technology, nor that an alternate version of the site be designed. Why, this very blog is quite accessible to the blind, and I doubt Patterico gave it much thought.

    Now maybe the whole law is a terrible idea, or this ruling a bad interpretation of it, but that’s a seperate issue from whether or not web accessibility for the blind is a far-fetched idea.

    Nels Nelson (7a2ebc)

  15. I looked at some of the information available on blind and sight-impaired people using the internet. It appears to be a little more complicated than you make it sound. The current technology would work well if websites and formatting were consistent, but this is not the case. While some sites may already comply, either through foresight or accident, others would require extensive remodeling. Again, as the internet develops, standardization will make this more feasible. Requiring compliance is not a reasonable option.

    Also, I didn’t say it was far-fetched, just that it was unreasonable to require it. I mentioned that, as a marketing strategy, it would be a wise thing to do. If it’s already being done by eBay and Priceline with success, others will follow or be left behind. If they have made it standard practice, it must be profitable for them to do so. Do you believe in the free market? Let it work. Requiring websites to comply is judicial over-reach where it is not required.

    I wouldn’t know the first step to making my little two-entry blog experiment compliant with this. Should I be required to become ‘instantly’ expert in all facets of the internet or be faced with shutting down my own blog? Again, where does it end? Making translations readily available for people who don’t speak English? And will that be all languages for all people? If I don’t speak the language, will I still be responsible to ensure an accurate translation since it’s posted on my site? My point is, this is the first step to taking the ADA to that ridiculous extreme.

    I (at this point) do not make it a priority to make these changes since I do not generate any type of revenue. That is not my target audience (don’t have one really). It’s not that I don’t care about people with disabilities, I started my blog just to learn about blogging… at my own pace and in my own time. I see this decision as an encroachment on their right to run their business in a reasonable manner. It is also a step towards an encroachment on individual rights. Just my opinion, your mileage may vary. Besides, Macswain’s continuous nonsense annoys me. 😉

    Stashiu3 (0da7ed)

  16. Target sells clothing. Let us assume that they come up with some sort of website to give the blind better access. But then, when they advertise a particular item as coming in red and yellow and blue, some blind person will sue for being harmed by being reminded that he cannot see colors, or that his inability to see colors is being insulted, or that Target is providing information in terms which are incomprehensible to him.

    Henry VI (3e4784)

  17. Please tell me if such software would be capable of not only transcribing the text of a website, but also the visual elements that describe an item for sale in a compact and meaningful fashion

    Before wheelchairs, stores didn’t need ramps. After wheelchairs, stores did. They didn’t have to wait until a wheelchair came along that could climb stairs. My guess is this is whats going on.

    People can make fun of this result — what with all of the jokes about ‘strippers for the blind’ and ‘music for the deaf.’ And perhaps its because of ignorance of disability issues. But with a bit of thought it doesn’t look outrageous. With probably a bit more research, it might make people picking on this seem callous. Who knows.

    actus (10527e)

  18. I agree those things would be nice… but to require them is not “reasonable” for this medium. It may be a very successful marketing strategy if companies chose to adopt it.

    I’d say as a matter of social policy it may be better accessibility for the blind if the internet delivers information to them. Rather than them having to, while blind! find their way to the store, find the product, and then use their other methods of learning about hte product.

    And, as someone who has some basic knowledge about accessibility software, I’m not so ready to say its not reasonable. Specially given how in the future, most everything will be online.

    actus (10527e)

  19. some blind person will sue for being harmed by being reminded that he cannot see colors, or that his inability to see colors is being insulted, or that Target is providing information in terms which are incomprehensible to him.

    Why don’t blind people sue for that already? They can hear about colors you know.

    actus (10527e)

  20. From what I know of technology, what the blind were objecting to was the fact that their screen reading programs were unable to read Target’s website (chances are they had a bunch of pictures with no text describing what they are, making it impossible for the blind to buy something or know what it is).

    It isn’t that hard to have a textual description linked to the picture – that’s what that “alt” tag is for.

    B. Minich (54baf2)

  21. This is so 1999. A lawsuit for inaccessibility at a company that’s kept its site up to date, or rewritten it since around 2000, is like a lawsuit for a company that’s completely rebuilt it’s headquarters in the same timeframe without including wheelchair ramps or accessible bathrooms.

    What Target – and lots of other folks, including the US Government – have often done is to move things that used to be available by phone or in person to a website. That includes job applications – which are filled out online at Target – and customer complaints. This lets them greatly reduce staff, but with a tradeoff that you have to use a web browser to get there.

    An idea was borne – simply, make sure that everything on your website is accessible to people with various impairments, including low vision, but also including color blindness. There are places where you can’t do this effectively – for example, a website describing web safe colors won’t make much sense to someone who can’t comprehend colors. However, there’s no reason someone shouldn’t be able to fill out complaints and job applications, or order services, online. The World Wide Web Consortium got a committee together, and so do the US Department of Agriculture, to figure out what it meant to make an accessible website. Since they have directions that were written by committee, there’s lots that isn’t perfect in their directions, but there’s also a lot that works. The W3C standards have been out there for years – two jobs ago, I helped work on software that tested sites for trivial compliance to them, looking for text alternatives for pictures and the like.

    It’s tough for someone to make an existing, good looking site, fully accessible, especially if they try to find ways to describe visual effects to the blind or auditory to the deaf. It’s not tough for someone building a new site to make it accessible for at least the basic business services of the site (even if they do it by having a link that’s only read by screen readers at the top of the screen, to an alternative destination).

    gawaine (e49fe7)

  22. I’d say as a matter of social policy it may be better accessibility for the blind if the internet delivers information to them. Rather than them having to, while blind! find their way to the store, find the product, and then use their other methods of learning about hte product.

    And it is the courts’ jurisdiction to set social policy, right actus? Because this is not specified in the ADA and the court took it upon itself to apply the ADA to the internet. Where was this again? Oh, California. Didn’t we discuss that not too long ago?

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  23. Actus asks:

    some blind person will sue for being harmed by being reminded that he cannot see colors, or that his inability to see colors is being insulted, or that Target is providing information in terms which are incomprehensible to him.

    Why don’t blind people sue for that already? They can hear about colors you know.

    Because there’s no money to be gotten from ordinary people. But if a major corporation can somehow be liable for not providing access to the blind on a website, can something that stupid be far behind?

    Dana (3e4784)

  24. Actus also wrote:

    Before wheelchairs, stores didn’t need ramps. After wheelchairs, stores did. They didn’t have to wait until a wheelchair came along that could climb stairs. My guess is this is whats going on.

    Wheelchairs existed long before mandated handicapped accessability did.

    The real problem with this isn’t that we ought not to help the handicapped; it’s that overlawyering (thanks to the money involved) has taken all sense of reason out of things.

    Dana (3e4784)

  25. The nitwit who did this is identified only as a “federal district judge.” I’d like to know the name and who is responsible for the appointment.

    If the info is included somewhere, I missied it. I tried to do the reading, but my eyes glazed over and I started to nod off.

    But, given the situation, I’ll guess it was Jimmy Carter.

    Black Jack (63943a)

  26. Black Jack, it was Marilyn Hall Patel, appointed by Carter.

    Nels Nelson (4a3ac4)

  27. Why all the surprise … it’s the 9th Circuit at it again. The only real question is whether Reinhart was involved.

    MOG (c949f7)

  28. US currency, which has been redesigned at least twice since the ADA went into effect, still doesn’t have features that would allow the blind to distinguish one denomination from another.

    In a more perfect world, the US government would tend its own house before tending those of others.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  29. Target whould claim that the web site is up on a trial basis only.

    Neo (cba5df)

  30. And, as someone who has some basic knowledge about accessibility software, I’m not so ready to say its not reasonable.

    As someone who has more than basic knowledge about accessibility software, I am ready to say it’s not reasonable. Making a website fully accessible to sight-impaired individuals prevents use of many modern web ease-of-use and presentation improvements (image maps, Flash animations, and so forth); it necessitates that virtually every image on the site have alt-text, and that all buttons have keyboard shortcuts; and it requires the use of high-contrast color schemes that are oftentimes visually tiring for, if not downright ugly to, sighted individuals. On the whole, making accessibility accomodations for sight-impaired users on a website is non-trivial and frequently has the effect of rendering the site less useable for sighted users.

    Reality is that the web is largely a visual medium which is simply not as useable to someone who has a sight impairment. That’s life, and it is not fair — but it is not the job of the federal government to try and make it so.

    BC (f0ddbc)

  31. If BC is correct, and I am sure he is, then Target could still prepare an alternate web site for the blind. A link is only a link, so M or Ms blind person has a different link than M or Ms sighted.

    RJN (e12f22)

  32. And it is the courts’ jurisdiction to set social policy, right actus?

    Not necessarily. Its just that if this decision accords with good social policy, then its less outrageous. I don’t know much about the statute involved. But if it talks about ‘reasonable’ accomodations, then I would think thats a good argument for looking at what is good social policy. In terms of what is ‘reasonable.’

    Because this is not specified in the ADA and the court took it upon itself to apply the ADA to the internet

    I’ve never understood this internet exceptionalism. Why would you not apply laws to the internet?

    But if a major corporation can somehow be liable for not providing access to the blind on a website, can something that stupid be far behind?

    Well, corporations are somehow liable for providing access to people who can’t walk — becase they must conform to technology helps them walk (wheelchair ramps). So its not so outrageous that they also conform to technology that helps them read.

    Why all the surprise … it’s the 9th Circuit at it again. The only real question is whether Reinhart was involved

    This was a district court. So there’s not really a question of reinhart. unless he sees trials.

    Reality is that the web is largely a visual medium which is simply not as useable to someone who has a sight impairment. That’s life, and it is not fair

    And the reality is that the physical world is a largely spatial medium which is simply not useable to someone who can’t walk. Thats life. Its not fair. But we help to make it fair by requiring some accessibility. Some conformity to accessibility technology. Not full. But some. Thats all that it looks like is going on here.

    But some people would prefer to think that there is no reasoning behind this. Some would prefer to basically out of what I can only imagine is ignorance, compare this to music for deaf people.

    actus (10527e)

  33. Thats all that it looks like is going on here.

    What it looks like to you, and what it actually is, are not the same. And if you had more than a “basic” understanding of web accessibility and web design, you’d grasp this. Target’s alternatives are as follows:

    (1) Stop doing business on the web altogether. Preferable from a principled standpoint — I always savor the apoplexy that grievance lobbyists and professional victims suffer when their targets just opt out rather than be bullied — but obviously a non-starter for a corporation like Target.

    (2) Go to the trouble and expense of creating and maintaining a separate website, side-by-side with its existing website, that is accessible to vision-impaired users. Essentially, create and maintain an entirely separate on-line store just for these people.

    (3) Go to the trouble and expense of removing, from its existing website, any aesthetic or navigation features that may be of value to ordinary users, but which cannot be made accessible to vision-impaired users. Essentially, use lowest-common-denominator aesthetics and navigation technologies that actually compromise the useability of your website for your (majority) non-vision-impaired customers.

    These solutions cannot rationally be analogized to a brick-and-mortar retailer adding wheelchair ramps alongside staircases for the benefit of mobility-impaired customers. Solution #2 is akin to a brick-and-mortar retailer constructing an entirely new store for the benefit of mobility-impaired customers, while solution #3 is akin to a brick-and-mortar retailer forcing all its customers, whether mobility-impaired or not, to shop from wheelchairs. Neither of these things constitutes a “reasonable accomodation” by any normal understanding of the term.

    BC (f0ddbc)

  34. The law of unintended consequences rears up its ugly head. People are getting pissed off. At the handicapped.

    BlacquesJacquesShellacques (83acf5)

  35. Target’s alternatives are as follows:

    People are able to make accessible websites. I don’t understand why target cant. And yes. Its going to be a bit of trouble. And yes. It will raise prices for all of us. But that’s what our social policy is: that we’re all going to pitch in to help the disabled, rather than letting them compete on the market for access.

    actus (10527e)

  36. How in thhe world can blind person read a computer if they cant see? just how far down the road of rediclousness has the ADA taken us?

    krazy kagu (4455b0)

  37. How in thhe world can blind person read a computer if they cant see?

    The same way a person without legs can walk: with the use of assistive technology.

    actus (10527e)

  38. Actus said:

    But that’s what our social policy is:

    As defined by this court maybe, but I don’t agree that it’s our social policy to do this. If it was, there wouldn’t really be a need to debate it, would there? I don’t want it as my social policy and I don’t believe the ADA was ever intended to require this. It’s being, and has been for a long time, used as tool to force an agenda that is not representative.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  39. As defined by this court maybe, but I don’t agree that it’s our social policy to do this.

    Isn’t that what the ADA does? Impose accessability costs on businesses, which are then passed on to consumers and shareholders? It’s redistributionist. Away from the disabled, and towards everyone else.

    You might not like it, but thats pretty much what it does.

    actus (10527e)

  40. I didn’t say I didn’t like the ADA actus. I said that this policy was not in the ADA, written or implied, and was never the intent of the ADA. I know a lot of lefties would like their ideas of social policies automatically made law, but democracy doesn’t work that way. In this case, and many others like it, democratic process has been subverted to make this agenda reality. That’s my objection. Have you read the ADA? This interpretation is far outside any reasonable reading, hence the debate. I support the ADA, but not as a tool to set social policy far beyond what it was intended to cover.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  41. I said that this policy was not in the ADA, written or implied, and was never the intent of the ADA.

    Oh. I think its quite clear that the ADA imposes costs on businesses which are then passed on to shareholders and consumers. If you think thats not what it does, fine. What do you think it does? Do you disagree that it imposes costs? do you disagree that those are distributed to shareholders and consumers?

    actus (10527e)

  42. The same way a person without legs can walk: with the use of assistive technology.

    So websites all owe them that?

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  43. So websites all owe them that?

    I think the blind people have the assistive technology on their computers. Like we have some businesses interoperate with the disabled by having ramps, we would have some websites interoperate with the blind by having websites that work with assistive software.

    Its an argument worth having. Not everyone will agree that we should spread the cost of disability throghout society. Some people think the disabled should compete in the market for access.

    I just don’t see why its so outrageous to have this result. The only reason someone would think this was outrageous was if they were ignorant of these assistive techonologies for the blind, and made the sorts of idiotic ‘music for the deaf’ jokes.

    actus (10527e)

  44. Oh. I think its quite clear that the ADA imposes costs on businesses which are then passed on to shareholders and consumers. If you think thats not what it does, fine. What do you think it does?

    But it doesn’t require what this judge has said. If the judge said the ADA required the national speed limit to be 25 mile/hr, that doesn’t mean he is correct. That’s what I was talking about actus. I am aware of how the ADA ensures compliance and you are correct as can be in that.

    Its an argument worth having. Not everyone will agree that we should spread the cost of disability throghout society. Some people think the disabled should compete in the market for access.

    I just don’t see why its so outrageous to have this result. The only reason someone would think this was outrageous was if they were ignorant of these assistive techonologies for the blind, and made the sorts of idiotic ‘music for the deaf’ jokes.

    It is an argument worth having, but the judge is not allowing that. He has ruled by fiat to say how he wants the law to read, not as it was intended to read. That’s why it is outrageous and that is why “music for the deaf” is used as a logical extreme. You are familiar with hyperbole, you use it yourself a lot.

    If the issue can be properly debated and the majority believe that this should be social policy, so be it. I may not like it or agree with it, but that is what democracy is about. This judge subverted the legislative process and that’s why people object. You and I may not agree with what the policy should be, but the policy as defined by the judge is not in the ADA, nor was it intended to be. If the ADA needs to be updated to include the internet, then let’s have that debate and make the decision the way democracies are supposed to. They did it with the privacy laws, remember? You were talking about the Privacy Act as it related to DD214’s (Army Discharge). You are aware that the Privacy Act has been amended, right? And now we also have HIPPA for medical information. These were updated using our legislative process, not the court system.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  45. But it doesn’t require what this judge has said.

    All the judge did is refuse to dismiss a lawsuit. I’m not familiar with the ADA, but it would surprise me if it had an exception for the internet. Do you think it does? Whats your argument that this ruling is contrary to the ADA?

    It is an argument worth having, but the judge is not allowing that. He has ruled by fiat to say how he wants the law to read, not as it was intended to read.

    The case is going to go forward, and people will argue about the extent of compliance. Thats all. The judge refused to flatly say the ADA does not apply here. I don’t see why we should dismiss this case outright either. Do you?

    If the ADA needs to be updated to include the internet, then let’s have that debate and make the decision the way democracies are supposed to.

    Why do any laws need to be updated to include the internet? They all still apply.

    actus (10527e)

  46. Asserting that the ADA shouldn’t apply to the internet, yet that it is still applicable to modern life at all, really, ignores reality. How much of our lives are now managed over the internet? I pay my bills on the internet, shop on the internet, watch TV on the Internet, etc, etc. We take classes over the Internet, date over the Internet, manage entire business over the Internet . . .

    In fact, I likely spend more time on the internet than in all physical commercial spaces (i.e. the mall, the grocery store, the theater, etc) combined.

    Accessibility laws have to be either applied to the Internet, or effectively thrown away. For those who hate accessibility laws, of course, the answer is clear — throw them away. Just as they would have advocated against the laws in the first place (“Force stores to have RAMPS for wheelchairs? What kind of totalitarian government do we have?”)

    Phil (88ab5b)

  47. You are correct, the judge did not rule in favor, just to let it go forward and the case is pending. But by allowing it to go forward, doesn’t he imply that the case has merit? But the ADA doesn’t apply and the judge should have said so.

    Why do any laws need to be updated to include the internet? They all still apply.

    You are kidding right? That’s like saying they didn’t need to update laws when television came out because there were already laws about radio. The ADA does not cover this ‘virtual’ existance, only physical access.
    Check http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/adasummary.htm and related pages for yourself.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  48. That’s like saying they didn’t need to update laws when television came out because there were already laws about radio

    Right. Defamation didn’t need to be updated. Nor did lots of other things. We don’t need new laws for discrimination when it happens in a cell phone vs. in person. Same with the ADA.

    The ADA does not cover this ‘virtual’ existance, only physical access.
    Check http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/adasummary.htm and related pages for yourself.

    People are physically accessing hte website. My guess is this is under title III, public accomodations. the link you gave me doesn’t have the definition of public accomodation, but i dont’ see off the bat why a website can’t be one.

    actus (10527e)

  49. I said “and related pages”, but the rough definition is there and clearly covers physical building/structures. People are not physically accessing the website, you can’t physically access cyberspace. Stop guessing and read the info. The summary page I linked has most of the info to make the point anyway. ‘Virtual’ locations are not covered. Title IV is actually closer but clearly specifies telephone equipment for deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Defamation didn’t need to be updated.

    Exactly. Because what constitutes defamation did not change just because of the medium used. Apples and Oranges. Would you required all packaging have braille? How else can the blind tell the difference between M&M’s and Skittles? There’s that hyperbole again in case you missed it. But maybe you believe that would be “reasonable accomodation”.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  50. Stashiu3 said:

    The ADA does not cover this ‘virtual’ existance, only physical access.
    Check http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/adasummary.htm and related pages for yourself.

    Maybe it would help if you linked to the ADA?

    42 USC § 12181 (7) (E) says that a “public acommodation” includes a “grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment;”

    42 USC § 12182 states that “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”

    Clearly Target is a “clothing store” and also possibly a “hardware store” and likely a “shopping center. Clearly, Target’s web site is a “service” and also a “facility” of Target. Therefor, the ADA applies.

    Thus, under the ADA, the disabled are entitled to “full and equal access” to the web site of Target, because Target’s web site is either a “service” or a “facility” of Target.

    42 USC § 12182 (a)(i) defines discrimination as “a denial of the opportunity of the individual or class to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of an entity.”

    Clearly, it is at least arguable that failure to make a web site accessible, when such accessibility is obviously possible, is a “denial of the opportunity . . . to participate in or benefit from the . . . services, facilities or privileges” of Target.

    Phil (88ab5b)

  51. You’re right Phil, you could definitely argue that the website is a service (I think it’s a stretch, but certainly a valid point to argue)… not sure about facility but that wouldn’t matter as it’s an inclusive phrase. Doesn’t have to meet all facets, any is sufficient unto itself. You have convinced me at least that there is enough wiggle-room to allow the case to go forward. I hope that it is found to be unreasonable as I believe it is. There has to be some line where things can be said to be an undue burden. But I was wrong and thank you for clearing it up for me.

    Stashiu3 (404f9e)

  52. The fair housing jerks who sued newspapers becuase they claimmed the term MASTER BEDROOM poked at SLAVERY and WALK IN CLOSET was discrimantory to the handicapped i guess their idiots dont believe in freedom of speech

    krazy kagu (91408b)


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