June 27, 2012
Disabilities Act Applies Online Too
By Shaun Heasley
Knocking down arguments from Internet movie giant Netflix, a federal judge ruled this week that websites are subject to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The decision from U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor in Springfield, Mass. comes in a case pitting disability advocates against Netflix.
Advocates alleged that the company operates in violation of the ADA because many movies and TV shows offered through Netflix’s streaming service are not captioned, making them inaccessible to those who are hearing impaired.
Attorneys for Netflix argued that the company’s offerings are exempt from the ADA and asked for the case to be dismissed. In rejecting that argument, Ponsor’s ruling paves the way for the lawsuit to proceed.
Despite the ruling, legal experts said the issue of whether or not the Internet counts as a “place” subject to ADA protections is far from decided. Courts in various jurisdictions across the country have ruled differently on the matter and it very well could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, reports The Boston Globe. To read more click here.