Appeals Court To Hear Arguments Over Webcast Of Downloading Trial

An appellate court in Boston has stayed a trial judge's order authorizing a Webcast of the legal proceedings in the record industry's lawsuit against grad student Joel Tenenbaum.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral argument on the issue for April 7. The appeals court also ruled that the trial court should not Webcast any hearings in the case until at least that date.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner in Boston granted Tenenbaum's request to Webcast proceedings. The Recording Industry Association filed an emergency appeal of Gertner's order allowing the Courtroom View Network to stream proceedings and the Berkman Center to host the coverage. Tenenbaum's lawyer, Harvard Professor Charles Nesson, founded the Berkman Center.

The record industry argues that Gertner's order violated local rules about cameras in the courtroom.

The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing Tenenbaum's request. "What transpires in these courts should be available to all members of the public, whether they can travel to the courthouse or not," the group argued.

News organizations including The Associated Press also attempted to file a friend-of-the-court brief, but the First Circuit rejected it on the grounds that allowing the brief would have posted a conflict of interest for at least one judge.

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