Monday, February 2, 2009

Record labels file reply in support of anti-webcasting petition in First Circuit

The record label plaintiffs have filed their reply brief in support of their petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition seeking to block the webcast of an upcoming motion hearing in their copyright suit against accused peer-to-peer infringer Joel Tenenbaum. Much of the brief focuses on the District of Massachusetts Local Rule governing electronic media in courtrooms. And the labels seem to have backed off some of their more aggressive (and weakest) claims about the harm that would supposedly befall them if the Feb. 24 motion hearing is webcast; there's no mention of the widely-mocked fear that the "broadcast will be readily subject to editing and manipulation by any reasonably tech-savvy individual."

I should add that I am sympathetic with the labels' concern that Tenenbaum's counsel is trying to turn this case into a circus. I just think that the ringmaster's antics -- as well as the substantive copyright issues raised in the case -- should be widely available for public view and comment.

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