[games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.

Matthias Troup foreversublime at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 16 09:58:11 EST 2007


Getting a law passed should be an issue dropped from the SIG. The bottom line is that games aren't meant for everyone to begin with. Nothing is.

Influence through inspiration is an honorable way to meet the SIG's goals. Forcing its hand by law is condemnable. The former may not be the most effective, but the latter doesn't consider for one second that everything this SIG stands for MIGHT BE "WRONG". On a social level accessibility *might* be a nice accomplishment. How about from other perspectives? Entertainment? Art? Creative freedom? I enjoy designing accessible games on an independent/"hobbyist" basis,
but I cringe to think what forced accessibility would do (or not do) on
a grand scale. I'll reserve my "what if" statements.

The only place accessibility may have a legal leg to stand on is in a public school setting. Are most people with special needs able to attend public schools (bad question - as there is such a large range of disabilities)? Does it impede the progress of able bodies? Remember - in America - "The needs of the MANY outweigh the needs of a few" or so it's believed. Are American children under-performing because the top 50% of students are being held back by laws, goals, and actions focused on the bottom 50% (I'm not assuming disabled people are "dumb", but most are "under-performing" by definition that they don't have tools needed to maximize potential)? We can't be educated enough to know. As wide a range of accessibility features there could be for different disabilities there are different points of view of how a law may have a positive or negative impact on the very society [able-bodied inclusive] this group is trying to help. So, please continue to inspire, and please keep this out of reach from the law.











Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 22:24:04 -0600
To: games_access at igda.org
From: hinn at uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On our side.




Re: [games_access] Getting Federal government. On
our sid
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:


http://www.nad.org/site/pp.asp?c=foINKQMBF&b=100779


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???):


http://www.nad.org/site/pp.asp?c=foINKQMBF&b=100782


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 organizations.


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.



Robert



-----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

law)?



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.



Michelle




>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

the


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

injured


>soldiers.



>



>Robert



>



>-----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!



>



>Michelle



>



>>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:



>>



>>http://www.petitiononline.com/



>>http://www.petitiononline.com/Captions/petition.html



>>



>>I too don't know how successful this approach will be - but

none of us

will


>>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

it


>>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

to


>>translated versions in other languages.



>>



>>Go for it, Robert!



>>



>>Barrie



> >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

letters


>>>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


>>>discrimination.



>>>



>>>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


>>>up



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

us to


>>>especially



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

but ignoring

the


>>>rest seems wrong.



>>>



>>>Robert



>>>



>>>_______________________________________________



>>>games_access mailing list



>>>games_access at igda.org



>>>http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access



>>



>>



>>



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>>games_access mailing list



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