[games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.

Robert Florio arthit73 at cablespeed.com
Mon Dec 3 12:16:19 EST 2007

That's cool. Take a look at the rough draft I wrote. In a previous
submission here.

I don't know if it needs to be a lawsuit but oh well if it needs to be it
needs to be. But like you said the petition starts with that people we can



From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]
On Behalf Of d. michelle hinn
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 11:24 PM
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.

This is true and I definitely was not trying to discourage the petition --
but when we start talking laws...we start talking about lawsuits. To do that
is a whole different ballgame.

Movie industry captioning does fall, in part, under the Americans with
Disabilities Act but that ruling was in 2000 and the fight to get at least
seat based captioning is STILL ongoing with lawsuit after lawsuit launched.
The issue is that these require special devices and sometimes seating that
someone has to pick up the bill for (who pays for that? The movie theatres?
The movie industry?). The other issue is captions on or below the screen --
The National Association of the Deaf have been trying to get "open
captioning" (captions on or below the screen) of movies in theaters
implemented for a loooooong time now -- "open captioning" or on screen
captioning is NOT covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act for some
reason so there's ZERO incentive for the film industry to do that unless
they are showing a foreign language film) and there are entire chains of
movie theatres that do NOT provide captioning -- even seat-based:


See also this page for more information on how the movie industry has
reacted (quoted from the website: "Movie studios and theaters have been slow
to adopt open captioning of movies by claiming that open captioning causes a
negative effect on box office sales." Sound familiar???):


The above is a nice example of a position statement that is perhaps more
like what we want to go with regarding a petition.

A tax break initiative for movie theatre chains to do provide for this was
introduced in the JOBS act but when the final version of the law passed,
this was a "rider" on the law that was not included. There have also been
lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit raised and those take forever and
usually get dropped for one reason or another.

So perhaps what we need to do is not just get a petition going but actually
get groups like the National Association of the Deaf and so forth involved.
Because we can get every name in the game industry to sign the petition but
it's powerful (and politically connected) groups like these that launch the
lawsuits -- they have the power, connections, and the money to do this.

I know...this is soooo "American." It would be great if there were easy and
inexpensive options for the industry to implement, that it was "politically
correct" for a legislator to stand behind this issue (remember...we are in
election times...) -- the veteran issue is great and I definitely use this
example in talks that I give. But on the flip side...games were also used to
recruit so you can imagine the powderkeg the senator/whoever that brings
this up will face. And with all the issues current candidates are having to
address...eeek. So once again the lawsuit issue comes up. For that? We need
way more power and we need the power and support of major disability

Note: I am in no way saying "let's launch a lawsuit NOW." In fact, by even
raising the issue I'm probably pissing off every developer on the list. Or
not. I'm only raising the issue and pointing out how other advocacy groups
have handled this issue of accessibility to entertainment.

Michelle (who on some days is tempted to go get a law degree in night
school...hahahahahahah...ok, seriously...I'm tired. And when that happens
all kinds of crazy things come to mind.)

I know what you mean Michelle. But the bottom line is there needs to be
something created so that the entertainment world has a standard also.

Take for example the product brought out by the movie industry.

In order for their productivity listened to by people with heart hearing,
the movie theaters themselves by law, have to provide assistance technology
to help the people either see or hear with devices.

To me that seems like not exactly the same thing but something similar.

The game design industry also provides a product that is not equal
opportunity to enjoy.

If we can get the petition circled around then we can send it to the right
people who know the law and who can help us voice in if they see the need,
which will combine the most important people we can find to sign it.

Even if we just get around to the people we need to sign it, and then send
it around to officials, and nothing happens, I think it makes a very loud
statement. Because then it can be documented who signed it.

I would imagine trying to get the key names in the industry to sign it.
Even the employees for those companies.

Not to mention sending it out to all the important institutions.

On their web site for the petition web page they do say that it's
prohibited, not allowed, to mass e-mail yourself they set it up somehow
targeting it to the right people I'm not sure how.

I do not know what that's all about. Seems kind of crazy.


-----Original Message-----
From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]
On Behalf Of d. michelle hinn
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 8:10 PM
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.

Well, the reality is that it can take a VERY long time for a bill to
become a law...and even longer for something to become a bill! While
I think we should send something to the government I think the first
step is going to be sending something that makes them aware that this
is even an issue.

Then we probably need the help of a legislative attorney who knows
what specific constitutional laws are being violated and in what
instances. For instance, I'm pretty sure that there's no law that
requires that the music industry makes all CDs sold accessible to all
so a federal law mandating that video games are accessible to all
seems like that's probably pretty improbable. But what about video
game tournaments that exclude disabled gamers or a video game that's
marketed and used in schools (that, for sure, is a violation of US

I don't mean to be discouraging -- quite the opposite. We just have
to know what's possible and what is realistic and what can be done
soon and what is going to take a whole lot of persistence.


>Sounds great. I'm just not sure how to tie it in a broad? How would that

>work? I was suggesting that if it worked here it would become something

>marketable that other countries with one the same stamp of approval.


>My thoughts would be if it was made into some kind of legislation who makes

>up the ideas for ranking if it becomes accepted?


>I think the best thing is to put together the petition that I will

>definitely start writing. And then if we get any important representatives

>responding they can let us know what they think the best solution would be.


>Ultimately I think it should be something we can make money from instead of

>giving away all our ideas. So I'm sure there will be guidelines written up

>basic ones may be but then after that someone needs to regulate it.


>Kind of like what Hillary Clinton set up with the MSRP people. And as they

>might already have a branch or suggest a private branch which would be

>better. Maybe they would find it and give us a place to locate. One of


>best persuasive points to put in the petition would be for the injured





>-----Original Message-----

>From: games_access-bounces at igda.org [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org]

>On Behalf Of d. michelle hinn

>Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 7:34 PM

>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.


>I have all the US Senate/House/Governors email addresses so if you

>start it and others can help edit, I can send out a press release.


>We can start by raising the issue with the US government because I

>have those addresses but as Barrie suggested -- why limit this to

>just the US?


>I'm not sure how successful it will be but we haven't tried it and

>with the right tone it's worth a shot -- if anything it never hurts

>to remind the US government who often tries to outlaw gaming after

>this and that happens that games are important and not all bad. I'm

>always happy to contribute to that approach!




>>Robert, if you kick start it, and get it going - I'll support you

>>and so will others. Why not

>>start by building an on-line petition - I'm sure there's more than just me

>>here that would be happy to proof read it and add suggestions before

>>it goes live.


>>Take a look here:





>>I too don't know how successful this approach will be - but none of us


>>know for sure unless it's tried.


>>At the very least, it can burble away in the background - building support

>>for us in numbers. Perhaps we could all point people in its direction if


>>says things we are mostly happy with? I'd like it to be a bit more

>>international in scope, so I'd love to see an intro paragraph with links


>>translated versions in other languages.


>>Go for it, Robert!



> >www.OneSwitch.org.uk


>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert Florio"

><arthit73 at cablespeed.com>

>>To: "'IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List'" <games_access at igda.org>

>>Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 7:41 PM

>>Subject: Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.


>>>I'm actually proposing how many of us want to and can help to send


>>>to important people like senators, independent game developers, to get

>>>petitions signed, and send it to some senators to get some kind of

>>>nationwide talk on this and finally a regulated necessity standard?


>>>I think it's a very good and noble thing to do. Thinking of it in a way

>>>that it's an industry that has ignored and does not have any future plans

>>>for any big deals for accessibility for people. Especially in the United

>>>States is our Constitution write to have fair access to all forms of

>>>entertainment. To not allow people access to their product is



>>>Again this is something I have proposed before nobody said they wanted to

>>>work on it and I don't know why it seems like a great thing to do. Stand


>>>for our rights that's what the government is there to help us to


>>>in a billion-dollar industry making millions and millions but ignoring


>>>rest seems wrong.





>>>games_access mailing list

>>>games_access at igda.org






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