Boo…First Circuit says no to webcast

At JFB, we took a hard blow today (oh, it’s 3a.m. so that technically makes it yesterday) when the First Circuit said ‘no’ to internet in the courtroom. (Here’s a sketch of what happened)

At least there is comfort to be found in the fact that Judge Lipez points out the irony of the ruling.

When the motions hearing at issue occurs, only those physically present in the courtroom will hear the parties debate the
merits of the motions before the district court. Ironically, however, almost immediately after the oral argument in this First Circuit mandamus proceeding ended, anyone with an internet connection could access a recording of that argument from our website.

He also points out that broadcasting in civil trials are different from criminal trials:

Webcasting the legal arguments of counsel in a civil motions hearing does not implicate the concerns raised by televised trials. Many judges worry that the presence of cameras in the courtroom and the enhanced publicity that cameras bring
changes the nature of the trial process itself. Those fears do not realistically apply to a civil motions hearing where the judge considers and responds to the arguments of counsel. Also, there is no reason to fear the impact of webcasting on any future jury trial in this case. Trial judges can assure the seating of a fair and impartial jury with the application of familiar jury selection practices.

But he says that he can’t support webcasting because “With its sweeping prohibition on the broadcasting or recording of district
court proceedings, Local Rule 83.3 prevents such responses in civil cases.”

Dura lex, sed lex? Damn Socrates!

Other than the purpose of wanting to make our lives difficult, the RIAA obviously  thinks that webcasting the trial will have a negative effect, which only proves that they know that their argument is a weak one. This is a civil trial. If you were confident, why would you oppose to having the trial  broadcast? I mean, if anything, it should be Joel opposing the webcast because he’s an individual whose privacy would be violated by the exposure.


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