Bandcamp is facing legal action over an inaccessible website for visually impaired musicians.
A visually impaired musician named Linda Slade has brought the class action suit against Bandcamp. Slade has no vision whatsoever and must rely on screen readers to browse the internet. Bandcamp’s website lacks accessibility features intended to make it easier for people with visual impairments to browse it.
“Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against Bandcamp for its failure to design, construct, maintain, and operate their website to be fully accessible to and independently usable by Plaintiff and other blind or visually-impaired persons,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit argues that Bandcamp’s failure to provide adequate access to visually impaired people violates their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Defendant have chosen to rely on an exclusively visual interface. Bandcamp’s sighted customers can independently browse, select, and buy online without the assistance of others. However, blind persons must rely on their sighted companions to assist them in accessing, enjoying, and purchasing on Bandcamp.com,” the lawsuit continues.
The lawsuit argues that the violation is especially egregious since music is the one medium in which sighted and visually impaired and blind people are on even footing.
“Plaintiff seeks a permanent injunction to cause a change in Bandcamp’s policies, practices, and procedures so that the website will become and remain accessible to blind and visually impaired people,” the lawsuit continues.
Bandcamp was recently acquired by Epic Games, who says the site is important to its vision of building out a creator marketplace. Building out a website that is accessible via screen reader for visually impaired people may have to be one of the first priorities of the new owner.
On Bandcamp, artists collect an average of 82 cents of every dollar. It’s become a haven for independent artists to reach their fans and gives them an easy platform to sell their music. Since 2008, the platform has paid out close to $1 billion to artists.