[Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

Gaeir Dietrich gdietrich at htctu.net
Tue Mar 21 14:48:52 PDT 2017

Unless something has changed, Section 508 does not follow the money as
Section 504 does. We were told that very specifically when the Section 508
Standards first came out, and if you check the Access Board website, they
also say that very clearly:


3) To whom does Section 508 apply?

Section 508 applies to Federal departments and agencies.

4) Does Section 508 apply to the private sector?

No, it does not regulate the private sector and does not apply to recipients
of Federal funds.


Gaeir (rhymes with "fire") Dietrich
HTCTU Director


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of Chagnon | PubCom
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 2:21 PM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

Remember, Sec. 508 covers all ICT created with a federal tax dollar. That
includes ICT created by:

* Federal government agencies themselves.
* Their contractors, whether hired full-time or on a contract basis.
* Recipients of federal research grants (which includes most
universities and colleges).
* Recipients of federal service grants (which includes a lot of
community nonprofits and colleges)
* Institutions that receive any federal money (which includes most
universities and colleges)

Jennifer S wrote:

"Does anybody have a list of the lawsuits that have happened under the old
508? I'd be interested to see it."

Being in Washington DC, we do a lot of work in the federal government sector
and there have been hundreds of complaints and a few dozen lawsuits brought
against agencies. In the federal area, generally a formal complaint is filed
first, and the lawsuit follows if the deficiencies aren't corrected.

So the public isn't likely to hear about the complaints: they don't make it
into the news. My firm has helped several government agencies and
contractors retool their workflow and ICT products to rectify the problems
with their ICT.

Public lawsuits where the DOJ is involved generally are citing a government
agency, municipality, nonprofit, college/university, or corporation. Here's
a reputable list of lawsuits:


Just scan down the third column in the table to see the defendants.

This list, however, covers only websites. With the new Sec. 508 refresh and
its clarifying language that now specifies documents in addition to
websites, we can expect a lot more legal action in the future.

Jennifer S. wrote:

"I'm not saying 508 isn't important; I'm just not so sure it's going to
result in a deluge of lawsuits beginning in 2018."

I've already heard from close sources about work being done to bring some
major precedent-setting lawsuits after January 2018. And then there are the
tort trolls in the legal profession.

I guess you could just wait and see what happens to your university/college!

But really, I'd like everyone to have full access to everything they need,
and having been in academia for several decades, I hate to see
colleges/universities spend so much money on fighting lawsuits and fixing
ICT problems after the fact. It's really expensive!

Isn't it more cost-effective to prevent the lawsuits? It's so much cheaper
to get everyone trained in how to make accessible ICT than it is to fix the
problems down the road after paying off the lawyers.

--Bevi Chagnon

- - -

Bevi Chagnon | <http://www.pubcom.com/> www.PubCom.com

Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers

for publishing & communication

| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |

- - -

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of steve.noble at louisville.edu
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 3:18 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

I would suspect the link to 508-related lawsuits in a post-secondary setting
would be either through:

(1) Suits brought under state law (only a few states, like Kentucky, have
these) which mandate compliance with Section 508 and give individuals the
right to sue state-supported institutions for injunctive relief; or

(2) Breach-of-contract suits brought by institutions against vendors who
certified their products as compliant with Section 508, when the product was
later found to be non-compliant.

A suit brought against a university by an individual with a disability
concerning inaccessible technology would normally be constructed around the
ADA and Section 504, although it would be expected that part of the evidence
provided would be lack of compliance with "generally accepted" accessibility
standards, such as WCAG and Section 508.

--Steve Noble
steve.noble at louisville.edu


From: athen-list [athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] on behalf
of Jennifer Sutton [jsuttondc at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 1:51 PM
To: chagnon at pubcom.com; Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

Perhaps some of you who know 508 (both new and old) better than I do can
clarify this for me. But I'm a little concerned at the mention of "lawsuits"
below, especially since there's already plenty of fear, uncertainty, and
doubt in the higher ed. space, due to lawsuits . . .

Are there really likely to be 508-related lawsuits? As I understood things,
it would take a *long* time for anything 508-related to turn into a lawsuit.
Mostly, they're complaints that people with disabilities must file, and
then, the Federal agency (or other institution, if it falls under 508) must
take action, etc. In other words, I don't think 508 functions like filing
something against a company or institution that turns into a DoJ agreement
(if the organization doesn't take satisfactory action, of course).

I hope this is clear, and that someone else can clarify further. I'm not
saying 508 isn't important; I'm just not so sure it's going to result in a
deluge of lawsuits beginning in 2018.

Does anybody have a list of the lawsuits that have happened under the old
508? I'd be interested to see it.



On 3/21/2017 9:31 AM, Chagnon | PubCom wrote:

Yes, Sec. 508 goes into effect today, March 21.

It becomes enforceable on January 18, 2018.

Translation: All ICT (information communication technology) published from
January 18 and forward must be compliant. The lawsuits will begin on January
18, 2018. You have 9 months to get your act together.


Quoted from the Federal Register:


The effective date of the final rule published on January 18, 2017 at 82 FR
5790 is delayed to March 21, 2017. However, compliance with the section
508-based standards is not required until January 18, 2018, which is one
year after the final rule's original publication date. Compliance with the
section 255-based guidelines is not required until the guidelines are
adopted by the Federal Communications Commission. The incorporation by
reference of certain publications listed in the final rule published on
January 18, 2017 at 82 FR 5790 is approved by the Director of the Federal
Register as of March 21, 2017."

If you are a US-based institution, then yes, Sec. 508 is the law you must

However, understand the difference between laws and standards.

This law does not define the standards for accessibility for some ICT but
does for others:

* For websites, digital media, and documents like Word and PDFs, the
law "includes by reference" the international accessibility standards WCAG
2.0 and PDF/UA-1.
* For Sec. 255 technologies, especially telecom, cell phones, kiosks,
and software, it defines the standards but they are currently delayed.

We recommend that our clients follow WCAG 2.0 for all website information.

Document-based ICT, including PDFs that are posted on websites, is more
accessible if you follow PDF/UA (PDF Universal Accessibility) guidelines as
the WCAG guidelines really don't work for PDFs. PDF and HTML technologies
are not the same. A recent blog explains the differences between these two
technologies and standards:
zIo8&e=> http://www.pubcom.com/blog/2017-01-03/wcag-pdf-standards.html

--Bevi Chagnon

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On
Behalf Of Kressin, Lori L. (llk2t)
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:52 AM
To: ATHEN <mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
<athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Section 508 Refresh - Now In Effect?

Good morning all,

Here we are on March 21, 2017. Does that mean that the refresh of Section
508 is now in effect?

I have not heard anything to contrary, but I certainly could have missed

What is the general thought - is this the standard that you and your
institution will now follow?

Thanks for your input,


Lori Kressin
Coordinator of Academic Accessibility

Office of the Executive VP and Provost . Univ. of Virginia

102 Cresap Rd . POB 400199 . Charlottesville, VA . 22903

[434] 982-5784

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