2013 BYU L. Rev. 651 (2013)
Wheelchair Ramps in Cyberspace: Bringing the Americans with Disabilities Act into the 21st Century

handle is hein.journals/byulr2013 and id is 684 raw text is: Wheelchair Ramps in Cyberspace: Bringing the
Americans with Disabilities Act into the 21st
Century
I. INTRODUCTION
In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act1
to protect disabled individuals from discrimination in a variety of
forms. The Act was designed to provide disabled individuals the
same opportunities that individuals without disabilities enjoy.
Modifications designed to fulfill the Act's goal of equal access, such
as wheelchair ramps, have become common since the Act was signed
into law; however, many disabled individuals do not have equal
access to the World Wide Web.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act provides 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 by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or
2
operates a place of public accommodation.   Some circuit courts
interpret place of public accommodation broadly to include
nonphysical places, while other circuit courts interpret this provision
narrowly to require a physical tangible facility-putting virtual places
like websites outside of Title III coverage.
This unresolved circuit split culminated in the summer of 2012
when two nearly identical cases regarding website accessibility were
decided by two different district courts with completely different
outcomes. The issue in both cases was whether the lack of video
subtitles in Netflix's online streaming library was a violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act. The district court located in the
Ninth Circuit held that the Americans with Disabilities Act did not
apply to Netflix's website because the website was not a place of
public accommodation,3 while the district court located in the First
Circuit held that Netflix's website was a place of public
1. 42 U.S.C. 5 12101 (2006).
2. 42 U.S.C. 5 12182(a) (emphasis added).
3. Cullen v. Netflix, Inc., 880 F. Supp. 2d 1017 (N.D. Cal. 2012).

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