In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Appeals Court has ruled that the oral argument in the court below could not be webcast.
Ironically, the appeals court's own oral argument was streamed over the internet in mp3 format.
The appeals court conceded that the case was not a traditional case for a writ of mandamus, but invoked "advisory mandamus". It went on to find that the district court rule barred the webcast that the Judicial Council wasn't required to give notice of its resolution, and that the Judicial Conference resolution, although not binding, was entitled to great deference.
The court held that there were no constitutional issues involved.
In a concurring opinion, Judge Lipez stated that the rule should be reexamined in light of technological advances since its adoption.
April 16, 2009, Decision, Barring Webcast
[Ed. note. Sorry but I do not understand the First Circuit's reasoning one iota. During the oral argument, the judges made sense; but their written decision makes no sense to me at all. It seems to me that (a) the rule clearly on its face allowed exceptions, (b) the judicial council resolution was of no force and effect, (c) the judicial conference resolution was of no legal force and effect, (d) there is no such thing as "advisory mandamus", and (e) the First Amendment certainly was implicated. -R.B.]
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