A ruling last week in the case National Association of the Deaf (NAD) v. Netflix, Inc. took the unprecedented stance that websites are obligated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by ruling in favor of the NAD regarding their assertion that Netflix should be required to close-caption its online video library. The key issue in the ruling is the assertion that a website qualifies as a “place of public accommodation” and as such is subject to the ADA just as a brick and mortar shop is required to provide accessibility options such as ramps and handicapped accessible restrooms.
Many personal injury lawyers believe that this interpretation of the law could open up a variety of new opportunities for holding companies accountable for discriminatory actions. With this ruling as precedent, plaintiffs could sue websites for failure to make any online property accessible to disabled individuals, requiring significant changes to many websites and other online entities which are currently used by millions of Americans daily but are inaccessible to blind or deaf individuals.
are in for some bad news this week, as a law has just been passed establishing a new R18+ rating for video games released in the Australian market, similar to the ESRB ratings of M and AO. The law, pioneered by Federal Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare, goes into effect January 1, 2013.
For those of you not up to date on the bizarre goings-on between cartoonist Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal, and lawyer Charles Carreon will need to be brought briefly up to speed. Last month, Carreon sent a letter to the webcomic The Oatemal in response to a post from a year ago in which the cartoonist reviled the website FunnyJunk’s unauthorized use of his comics, as well as their treatment when he asked for them to be removed. This letter demanded that Inman pay $20,000 in damages or risk a defamation suit over the post.
Inman refused of course, and instead sent an insulting letter vowing to raised $20,000 for charity, take a picture of himself with the money and a comic of FunnyJunk’s owner’s mother attempting to seduce a bear, and send the image to FunnyJunk. All of this was documented on Inman’s website, resulting in a flood of internet outrage and an outpouring of spontaneous support for the fundraiser. Some of this support was not as productive as might have been hoped however, and Carreon appears to have suffered a flood of hate mail, spam, and other indignities which have roused him to even greater legal craziness.
Carreon has now filed suit against Inman, the Oatmeal, the website hosting the fundraiser IndieGoGo, the American Cancer Society, and the National Wildlife Federation; the two beneficiaries of the fundraiser. Under Carreon’s suit, he alleges defamation, incitement to cyber vandalism, and trademark infringement, demands that the fundraiser be shut down, and generally reeks of indignant rage and outright evilness.
The lawsuit has spurred various parties to action, but is still in the early stages of development. According to a San Diego lawyer, it seems to be willfully frivolous, but may indeed result in extended litigation which ends up costing legitimate charitable organizations significant legal expenses which could instead be spent on supporting cancer research and protecting wildlife.