The more I learn about the record labels' copyright infringement suit against Joel Tenenbaum, the less I understand their efforts to block the webcast of the Jan. 22 motion hearing in their case.
The Jan. 22 webcast would not actually be the first "webcast" of proceedings in this case. Tenenbaum's Harvard Law School student supporters audiotaped and made available here Tenenbaum's deposition, taken in September 2008. I've now listened to the first couple hours (admittedly not the whole thing). And were I representing the labels, I would want the public to hear what actually happened. Tenenbaum comes off on the tapes as extremely evasive and downright smarmy. He's obviously intelligent (he's now a grad student in physics at Boston University) and understands exactly what he's doing. In a smug performance that would do Bill Clinton proud, he bobs and weaves, ducks and parries, doing everything possible to avoid the questions that the labels' attorney patiently puts to him. And his counsel, Harvard Professor Charles Nesson, doesn't help matters by interposing entirely baseless objections on the grounds of attorney-client privilege. Oh, and Tenenbaum wore a Red Sox t-shirt and sunglasses to his deposition (too bad we can't see that on the audio). Even one of Tenenbaum's supporters calls the deposition "painful."
Part of my motivation for starting this blog was my belief that copyright owners have a good story to tell, but aren't often enough willing to tell it, particularly in the blogosphere. I think the record labels would gain more support for their litigation tactics if everyone were to read documents like this. I think they would gain even more if they would remind people that one of the members of the only jury ever to have sat through a trial in one of the individual p2p suits concluded of the defendant, "She's a liar." And more still if everyone would listen to Joel Tenenbaum's deposition.
The copyleft wants the world to believe that the labels' litigation pits faceless corporations against innocent victims. Anyone who listens to the tapes of Tenenbaum's deposition will soon realize that is propaganda that bears little relationship to the truth. More webcasts, please.