back to article Judge OKs webcast in RIAA music file-sharing case

A federal judge has agreed to allow streaming internet video coverage of a key hearing next week for the US recording industry's file-sharing $1m lawsuit against a Boston University graduate. US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner of Massachusetts ruled on Wednesday that existing courtroom cameras may be used to provide a live …


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  1. Steen Hive
    Thumb Up


    The RIAA probably think they own the broadcast rights to the trial too! Nice to see that they don't seem to own the rights to the judge, though.

  2. Nebulo


    No, no ... They're probably wary that one or two of the allegedly shared tracks might be played in court/on the webcast, whereupon the RIAA would be in the embarrassing position of having to screw public performance rights out of the court itself. That'd be fun to watch.

    Pirates, natch.

  3. kain preacher

    Uh oh

    The RIAA is in real trouble. With a law professor and a team of students this client has some thing the RIAA does not, and thats sheer man power. Not only that you have group of people pissed off at you working to bring you down. this can get real expensive for the RIAA as the law students are working for free and can keep on going tillthey graduate, and the professor already has a day job.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Don't just blame the RIAA

    Blame the lawmakers who the passed legislation that lets the RIAA sue for $1 million on damages for downloading seven songs and sharing 816 music files.

    Fines of $750 to $30,000 per act, $150,000 if deemed to be malicious. Dragnet lawsuits where even if you are innocent its cheaper to settle than fight.

  5. Stephen
    Paris Hilton

    If I steal from a shop...

    If I steal some CD's from a shop then I get arrested, slapped on the wrist and let go. If you download them illegally, you have to pay $1million. keh?

  6. Kanhef
    Thumb Up

    From the Boston Globe article

    ... Nesson, who has asked law students to help mount a defense, said in court papers that webcasting would shine a light on a lawsuit "prosecuted by a dying CD industry against a defendant who did what comes naturally to digital kids." ...

    ... To many people, he [Tennenbaum] said, the courts are "like a black box" where only the people in the courtroom can see justice being dispensed. When the hearing is streamed live on the Web, he said, viewers will witness the "absolutely egregious disparity" between the two sides in the case. "On one side, you have this large legal team who does this professionally, and on the other side you have, to quote Nancy Gertner, a bunch of average Joes," he said. ...


    I think the RIAA is actually right in that he's trying to increase the notoriety of the case. He wants to show the world what kind of tactics they engage in, and they very much do not want to have that publicized.

  7. jon

    Can't Wait

    Who's got the movie rights ?

    This has all the makings of a modern 'Erin Brokowitz' for the internet generation.

  8. lglethal Silver badge

    I can see why the RIAA would not want this streamed

    In a world where very few people are well versed in legal matters, especially to do with copyright law, people who are in the firing line of the RIAA will now be able to watch this video and perhaps avail themselves of a few additional notes. If the case is rejected out of hand, they will now have a sure fire legal precedent and also the knowledge of the exact legal statutes that the defense states in this case to have it thrown, for use in there own cases!

    This is a lot easier for the internet generation then trying to look through thousands of legal documents to discover the same statutes! No wonder the RIAA dont want it broadcast!

  9. Martin

    its never gonna happen

    anyone want to bet against it never getting to court? The RIAA have too much to loose and not enough to win on this one

  10. Paul Murphy

    justice <> Law <> common sense

    How will the RIAA try to justify the damages I wonder,

    How can they be sure that they are persuing the correct person and not a hacked account,

    How can they justify attacking (some of, but by extension all) the music industries customers.

    Also Charles Nesson seems to be up for a fight about the issue as, no doubt, are his students and since Harvard hasn't been targeted by the RIAA (yet - it would seem that the RIAA seems 'to be engaging in a classic tactic of the bully facing someone much weaker: threatening such dire consequences that the students settle without the issue going to court.'

    I suspect that what the RIAA really has to worry about is that artists will bypass the recording industry entirely and will go direct to the fans of their music, using the inter-tubes.

    Artists such as Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm come to mind as people who are working professionally as musicians without the music industry.


  11. Jon Lawrence

    coming unstuck ?

    The RIAA is going to come serious unstuck at some point and I don't think that point is going to be too far away.

    At somepoint they are going to go after the wrong person (or person) and that person/s will take them to the cleaners.

  12. Lukin Brewer

    An example from history

    One factor that helped end the career of Senator Joe McCarthy (of McCarthyism infamy) was that the American Broadcasting Corporation started broadcasting his hearings. When the public got to see how he actually worked, his public approval began to decline.

    Could this be what is worrying RIAA?

  13. Mark

    If a potential for sale lost is theft

    How about the theft from the artists of all the music out of print? How about the theft from the artists from all the music that isn't on the record store shelves? If you can't see it, you may not think of buying it.

    IF a potential for a sale lost is theft.

    But it isn't.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    too bad it's not in my state

    I sure would love to have been picked to be on that jury.

  15. Red Bren

    @Martin - its never gonna happen

    It would be great if the RIAA are prevented from withdrawing their malicious prosecution, even if they know that losing will set a precedent that would leave them buggered!

    If you light the blue touch-paper of litigation, you should be made to watch the fireworks. Didn't Oscar Wilde end up in jail after he sued for libel?

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