#AudioEye Has Dropped Its Suit Against Me

AudioEye has dropped its lawsuit against me as part of a settlement agreement. The specific legal details are at the end of this post.

Joint Statement

The Parties are AudioEye and me, and this is Parties’ joint statement about the settlement:

  • The Parties have agreed to resolve the litigation concerning Roselli’s past statements about AudioEye’s products and services.
  • The full, exact terms of the Agreement are confidential.
  • The Parties acknowledge that the statements included in AudioEye’s amended complaint were merely expressions of Roselli’s opinion. As the concept of opinion and fact exists in defamation law, Roselli’s statements were not statements of fact concerning AudioEye’s products and services.
  • Though Roselli has decades of experience in digital accessibility, Roselli does not have experience regarding the specific usage and functionality of AudioEye’s products and services, other than its “Visual Toolkit” or “toolbar.” His prior statements of opinion concerning AudioEye’s products and services were based only on AudioEye’s toolbar. Roselli is not and has never been (nor has he tried to become) an onboarded customer or client of AudioEye with full access to its products and services. Roselli and AudioEye have not previously entered into any contracts or agreements for AudioEye to provide Roselli with access to its products or services.
  • AudioEye constantly monitors its products and services and works with organizations to ensure its products meet the highest standards. As part of this settlement, and with the hopes of continuing to work toward digital accessibility, AudioEye has agreed to make a financial contribution of no less than $10,000 to National Federation for the Blind.

That is the entirety of what I have to say (and will say) about the terms of the settlement.

Impact, Abridged

What I will talk about is my views about having gone through this process. Of course, this settlement is a relief to me. Unfortunately, the lawsuit’s objective was partially successful. People were afraid to talk about AudioEye for fear of getting sued by AudioEye. People were afraid to participate in research for fear of getting sued by AudioEye:

People were, however, willing to publicly express their opinions about what they felt was a frivolous lawsuit. Here’s the President of the National Federation of the Blind:

Here’s Aral Balkan, who isn’t even in this space but wasn’t shy with his opinion:

There was also some blowback on IAAP for promoting AudioEye (a member) while folks were busy being angry about AudioEye suing me (not a member).

Originally I was going to share a lot of posts from folks with opinions on AudioEye’s lawsuit, but then this update could look like ego stroking. You can instead search assorted social media platforms at your leisure. Check the #AudioEye hashtag on Twitter or search for AudioEye on BlueSky or #AudioEye on any Mastodon instance or see how people responded to Lainey Feingold on LinkedIn. These are just the (somewhat) public channels.


That last link is a good transition to reference Lainey Feingold’s post New Low in the Accessibility “Industry:” Overlay Company Sues Globally-Recognized Accessibility Expert:

This lawsuit against Adrian Roselli impacts every person who cares about including disabled people in the digital world. It impacts all of us who speak, write, and advocate for digital accessibility that is fair, equitable, and ethical.

The lawsuit has what is known as a “chilling effect” (thus the image of ice cubes). I have personally experienced it, and I know others who have too. Who will be next? What type of conversation is off limits?

Colleen Gratzer covered it in her Design Domination podcast in the episode AudioEye versus Adrian Roselli: The SLAPP Heard Around the World.

Folks who either caught the news elsewhere or read the lawsuit itself broadly agreed this was a SLAPP suit, which stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.

Colleen’s video as an embed

My attorneys also firmly believed it was a SLAPP suit:

Apparently there is a #LitigationDisasterTourists hashtag and, if BlueSky ever honors hashtags, AudioEye’s lawsuit was tagged with it there.

Everybody Lost

Nearly every engagement I have had since I shared the lawsuit has been nothing but support for me and anger at AudioEye (some folks didn’t know about it). It makes sense the people who invited me to their events, offices, and homes would support me, so you can take that with a grain of salt.

Lost Focus

But statements of support took time away from broader conversations about improving outcomes for people. Instead of talking about a new tool, or discussing a bug in popular assistive technology, or having a dialog about improving an experience, many of us wasted time kvetching about this pig headed SLAPP litigation instead.

This absolutely impacted my own ability to be productive. My writing output dropped, my casual free help on the socials or in the A11y Slack shrunk, and even those meaningful hallway conversations were misdirected to this through no effort on my part.

Lost Voices

Early in the post I referenced someone who was afraid to be named in a research study. If you wade into the social media platforms, you will see other people worried about sharing their own experiences with broken tools as a result of this bullying tactic.

The (in my opinion) chilling effect of AudioEye’s SLAPP did more than shut me up, it silenced the users of overlays in general for fear of being open about their frustrations. I’m sure this impacted the members of AudioEye’s “A eleven eye-ance” team as well (I am speculating here).

Lost Revenue

I don’t know how much AudioEye spent in attorney fees. I know that firms like Akin Gump charge well above the $1,000 USD per hour range. Never mind all the time AudioEye executives spent discussing it, directing staff to track down all my grumpy posts, and generally watching for me to slip up. Imagine how that money could have gone back into its product or, better yet, the disability community.

I immediately stopped donations and sponsorships when I was sued. I needed to keep my community support budget for what could be an expensive fight (regardless of all the offers for financial help). No local meet-ups, no conferences, no events around the world got a cent from me (“around the world” is not hyperbole; I once sponsored an event in Hong Kong knowing I would not attend). I certainly have a lot less money than AudioEye to throw at the community, but I still gave my time and money where I could.

Lost Goodwill

AudioEye was often considered, and I had conceded in the past, the least bad of overlay vendors. While it had a history of hyperbolic claims, it had made some efforts to participate in the digital accessibility industry and even tone down some of those claims. I understand from recent industry conferences that AudioEye is no longer seen as least-bad.

In my case, I counted maybe three people (one commented on Lainey’s post) who felt I was being mean and that getting sued is what happens to people who are mean to multi-million dollar companies. So I guess there was some goodwill lost toward me as well.

Lost People

I discovered from this debacle that I have some sort of reputation. I mean, within the accessibility industry my name has some recognition. Within the broader web industry it turns out some folks also know who I am. Which is great for me in this situation.

It is absolutely terrible for others in the same — no, worse — situation. I got a bunch of support. But I believe it was at the expense of other people, and one person in particular comes to mind. Independent practitioner Julie Moynat is still in litigation with FACIL’iti since 2021.

FACIL’iti may be more aggressive in suing critics. Julie isn’t the only one being bullied by overlay vendor FACIL’iti. Koena lost its defense against FACIL’iti and Koena could use your help covering its costs and filing an appeal.

Please redirect any support you wanted to throw at me to Julie and/or Koena instead.

AudioEye has dismissed with prejudice its lawsuit against me. Essentially this means AudioEye cannot sue me again for the same content. I have embedded the dismissal action as an untagged PDF or you can grab the file directly.

If you are curious how this all started, read my opinion post #AudioEye Will Get You Sued. One positive outcome is that National Federation for the Blind is getting a $10,000 donation from AudioEye (so not everyone lost). Remember that the President of the National Federation of the Blind supported me in the Masto post I included above.

Interestingly, in late August AudioEye’s attorneys sent me a discovery document. While I am not a lawyer, essentially they demanded any communication I had with anyone at any time about anything related to AudioEye. They also demanded my entire work history, income, experience in digital accessibility, and education. On top of that, they wanted all communications with the people who provided me with affirmations and affidavits.

I thought this was a ploy to scare people, given the ongoing anti-SLAPP motion. Since I had been posting whatever AudioEye sent me, I felt AudioEye was using it as a tactic to continue to scare people from supporting me. As such, I did not share it. I am sharing it now as an embedded tagged PDF, which is also available directly (264kb PDF). The good news is that they had finally delivered an accessible document.

It turns out what I believed was a scare tactic designed to limit my support and continue to scare the industry into silence might have been no more than lawyerly incompetence – although, I suppose incompetence and scare tactics can be one and the same (this is my opinion, dear reader and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP along with Phillips Lytle LLP, because I am not an attorney and have no expertise in this area).

New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) Section 3211 (g)(3) addresses why this request was moot:

All discovery, pending hearings, and motions in the action shall be stayed upon the filing of a motion made pursuant to this section. […]

Remember that my attorney filed a Motion to Dismiss under New York’s anti-SLAPP statute (that is, 3211(g)). But even without the anti-SLAPP statute, it is basic procedure that any motion to dismiss stays disclosure, as noted in CPLR 3214 (b):

Stay of disclosure. Service of a notice of motion under rule 3211, 3212, or section 3213 stays disclosure until determination of the motion […]

Granted, it still could have been a scare tactic – again, incompetence and scare tactics can work together quite well. But it was one that cost AudioEye however many hours at whatever partner rate Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP charges (likely with time from a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP) and which would never be acted upon.

Incidentally, I cannot say enough positive things about Cohen Green PLLC, specifically Remy Green, who was my attorney through this debacle. If you find yourself being bullied with a SLAPP, probably call them.


I appreciate the overwhelming support of the accessibility and disability communities. I am especially grateful to Norbert Rum, Rian Rietveld, Léonie Watson, Steve Faulkner, and Ian Hamilton for taking the time out of their other obligations on short notice and providing me with affidavits and affirmations. Lainey Feingold has been an incredible friend through all this.

As I said above, I can wholeheartedly recommend Cohen Green PLLC and Remy Green.

My other posts about AudioEye:

Other problematic overlay vendors:



Update: 8 February 2024

Likely as a response to AudioEye’s SLAPP, AudioEye is adding Mike Paciello to its team as its Chief Accessibility Officer. If this feels familiar, remember that accessiBe hired Michael Hingson to be its Chief Vision Officer in an effort at reputation washing after its own overlay was roasted by the blind community.

Mike is a friend. I have worked with Mike. Mike even name-checked me in his CSUNATC 2023 keynote. Mike did not tell me about this move until after the public announcement, which was less than a month after AudioEye’s SLAPP against me settled. However, Mike has tried to bridge the gap between real practitioners and venture-funded tooling efforts (overlays) for years so I was not nearly as surprised as many others were.

Unfortunately, some people cannot change their character and are doomed to repeat their mistakes, no matter how much you try to fix them. My fear is it is happening again, given the character of the company, the character of its current leadership, and the obviously bad PR it’s had over the last year as a result of the SLAPP.

The community is mixed in its reaction, but for many this news is too much:

Renowned lung cancer specialist joins tobacco company. At least that’s what it feels like to me.

If failing to assume responsibility, overlays companies will never be a part of the accessibility community, but a stain on it.

But I have lost hope in so many people I’ve considered accessibility leaders over the years. […] If there is a quick buck to be made, it is made, often to the disadvantage of disabled people.

When respected accessibility people become overlay salesmen, it sticks a dagger in your back and you feel like you just got slapped in the face. Especially since an accessibility professional was sued and faced a SLAPP lawsuit from the very same company. You can congratulate the man, but can you congratulate and respect the decision?

Unfortunately, reputation washing works both ways. I’m afraid AudioEye is taking advantage of my friend and his earnest desire to improve outcomes for the disability community.



First of all, I am happy even if the truth didn’t won. Big lawyer guns are never a good opponent…

Reading “Though Roselli has decades of experience in digital accessibility, Roselli does not have experience regarding the specific usage and functionality of AudioEye’s products and services, other than its “Visual Toolkit” or “toolbar.” His prior statements of opinion concerning AudioEye’s products and services were based only on AudioEye’s toolbar. Roselli is not and has never been (nor has he tried to become) an onboarded customer or client of AudioEye with full access to its products and services. Roselli and AudioEye have not previously entered into any contracts or agreements for AudioEye to provide Roselli with access to its products or services.” makes me think that we need to find overlay customer that got sued by people with disabilities to proove overlays aren’t working?

Or do they all get threathened to stay silent by some bullet proof terms of service?

Then we need to read and disect the terms of service and expose the ifs and buts to the public, I guess?


Thanks for being willing to speak up about this, even in the face of intimidation. I’m hopeful others will continue to push for a continued focus on real accessibility improvements, not fake one line solutions.

The timing of this post is crazy. The same day you posted Nielsen Norman Group published the results of a study on accessibility widgets and their results match what you’ve been saying: overlays are not helpful for actual screen reader users.

In response to Nicolaos Skimas. Reply

Nicolaos, that video collects the research from April 2023, Challenges for Screen-Reader Users on Mobile. While unlikely, I have to admit a tiny part of me wonders if the long delay between the article and the video was a function of worries about litigious overlay vendors, and the outcome here made them more comfortable.

And thank you, I too hope that others will continue to push for real outcomes for users.


Thank you for all you do, Adrian, and for speaking out. I am so glad to hear this news.


Your recent situation is now a valuable resource for many.

I’m sorry Adrian, but thank you.

Onwards and upwards after a rest, cake, cocktail, whatever floats your boat.

Rgds, Chris.

Chris; . Permalink

Great to hear and feel I’m sure, a win for free speech and hopefully increased solidarity. All the best to you in work and life!

Matthew Scofield; . Permalink

Thanks for the update and I’m relieved to hear the lawsuit is not ongoing!

Andrew; . Permalink

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