District Judge Nancy Gertner has granted so much of the defendant's motion as sought to televise, over the internet, the January 22, 2009, oral arguments of the parties' motions concerning the defendant's counterclaims, in SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum.
The ruling does not address the issue of televising subsequent proceedings, including the trial.
This is believed to be the first time that proceedings in an RIAA case will be televised. (If anyone has any contrary information, please let me know.).
CVN will “narrowcast” the audio-visual coverage to the website of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which will make the recording publicly available for all non-commercial uses via its website.
The argument will be on Thursday, January 22nd, at 2:00 p.m.
Judge Gertner questioned the reason for plaintiffs' objection:
While the Plaintiffs object to the narrowcasting of this proceeding, .... their objections are curious. At previous hearings and status conferences, the Plaintiffs have represented that they initiated these lawsuits not because they believe they will identify every person illegally downloading copyrighted material. Rather, they believe that the lawsuits will deter the Defendants and the wider public from engaging in illegal file-sharing activities. Their strategy effectively relies on the publicity resulting from this litigation.January 14, 2009, Order and Decision Granting Internet Television Access to January 22nd Oral Arguments
Nothing in the local rules of the District Court of Massachusetts, the policies of the Judicial Council for the First Circuit, life, or logic suggests that this motion should be denied. As Judge Weinstein noted: “No reason has been suggested to depart from the policy that, in general, the public should be permitted and encouraged to observe the operation of its courts in the most convenient manner possible, so long as there is no interference with the due process, the dignity of the litigants, jurors, and witnesses, or with other appropriate aspects of the administration of justice." .....
Much like the proceedings before then-Judge Alito and audiovisual coverage of legal arguments in Courts of Appeals around the country, the district court hearing now at issue involves only legal argument. Moreover, coverage will be “gavel to gavel” -- streaming a complete recording of the hearing to a publicly available website -- not edited for an evening news soundbite. The public benefit of offering a more complete view of these proceedings is plain, especially via a medium so carefully attuned to the Internet Generation captivated by these filesharing lawsuits.
Commentary & discussion:
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