fbpx

How Bad Website Strategy Took Down Beyoncé


social+media+law+firm.jpg

Did you know that in 2019, Beyoncé 🎤 was sued as a result of bad website 🌐 strategy? 

Beyoncé’s lawsuit is a great example for us to learn from to avoid lawsuits from bad business mistakes.

In reality, Beyoncé could have avoided her lawsuit if she had only utilized an ADA-compliant website with strong terms and conditions 📝.

What happened to Beyoncé

Back in 2018, a woman named Mary visited Beyoncé’s website to buy a hoodie. 

However, she quickly discovered that she couldn’t navigate 👩‍💻 the website because it wasn’t properly coded for the screen-reading software she uses as a blind individual. 

In her lawsuit, Mary alleged that Beyoncé’s website violated the Americans with Disabilities Act as it did not contain alt tags for the videos and photos on the website. 

Alt tags are words that describe what’s happening in photos and videos 📺 that are displayed online. Screen-reader apps audibly read these alt tags so people with disabilities can hear what’s in the photos and the video.

Interestingly, the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act do not ❌ explicitly mention websites. However, upon careful review of the law, U.S. courts 🏛️ have determined that the ADA does apply to the Internet 🌐, and that website publishers must ensure that their content is accessible to people with disabilities. 

In other words, the law states that websites must be coded so people with auditory 👂 and visual 👁️ disabilities can access information online.

How it affects you

You may be surprised to learn that Mary’s lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act is not unique. In fact, within the first half of 2018 alone, 5,000 lawsuits were filed in America alleging that websites violated ADA requirements 😱. 

The artists and creators sued in these instances often failed to include alt tags in their websites, resulting in a denial of information for people with disabilities.

Believe it or not, those who were found guilty were forced to pay $4,000 💰 per violation; that’s $4,000 per photo and video that did not feature an alt tag. 

Therefore, once Mary’s lawsuit is resolved, Beyoncé is in for a big bill 💲 considering her website contained dozens of photos and videos, all lacking alt tags.

No one can escape the law 👮, including Beyoncé – and including you.

How to make your site ADA compliant

Here are some tips for protecting yourself from lawsuits and ensuring your website is ADA compliant:

Auditing

Make sure to do an audit of your website using the WAVE 🌊 Web Accessibility Tool

This tool will analyze your website and identify any instances of non-ADA compliance. In other words, it’ll show you the areas that need work to protect 🛡️ you from a lawsuit.

Alt tags

Ensure that your website has the appropriate alt tags to accurately describe any videos, audio 🔈, and photos on your website.

Strong 💪 terms and conditions

…When I say strong, I mean rock-solid

Web users should be able to access your terms and conditions by clicking a link 🔗 at the bottom of your site. 

When it comes to the content of the terms, social media lawyers like myself recommend strong language that forms a legal agreement 🤝 between you and your site’s users. 

Based on your terms and conditions, if a user has a problem with your website – whether they say 🗯️ it’s inaccurate or has #defamation – you have rules to help you control the dispute.

Where do you get good website terms and conditions? 🤔

If you so choose, you can write ✍️ your own terms and conditions using these five ✋ tips.

Additionally, you can download website terms and conditions templates on my website, iancorzine.com. This template has been specifically designed for creators like you with custom details to protect your work online.

That being said, I would recommend hiring a social media lawyer to custom-draft your terms and conditions. If you’d like to discuss this with me, you can click here to schedule a consultation.

Limited liability clause

Regardless of how and where you get your website terms and conditions, you need to make sure they include a limitation of liability clause. 

This clause limits your liability for any damages related to inaccuracies or defamation on your website. 

While it does not totally protect ⚔️ you from ADA-compliance complaints, it goes a long way to get you out of lawsuits and back to what you do best.

Use an inappropriate copyright notice

As the founder of your website, you have copyrights to your branding, logos, and the words you write ⌨️. 

Therefore, you need an inappropriate copyright clause to ensure that if someone were to visit your website and steal your information, you have a cause of action against them. This copyright notice would provide that cause. 

There are a plethora of other clauses that you need in your website terms and conditions, and they can all be found in my downloadable 📥 tips.

If you need any more information on ADA website compliance, be sure to schedule a consultation with me – I only wish Beyonce had… 🤷‍♂️