Judge Nancy Gertner granted the motion of the defendant, grad student Joel Tenenbaum, for the Internet broadcast, rejecting the record industry's argument that a Webcast could taint a jury pool.
"The public benefit of offering a more complete view of these proceedings is plain, especially via a medium so carefully attuned to the Internet Generation captivated by these filesharing lawsuits," she wrote.
Gertner has proven sympathetic to file-sharing defendants in the past. In one recent case, she denied a record industry request to subpoena a college's records for identities associated with IP addresses. In that case, she ruled there wasn't enough proof that the students tied to the IP address were the ones who shared files.
In another proceeding, she criticized the record industry for "bankrupting" defendants. Recently, the RIAA said it would stop suing individual defendants, but intended to continue prosecuting cases now in the pipeline.
Regardless of Gertner's feelings about the merits of those lawsuits, the decision to Webcast next week's hearing makes a lot of sense.
Given that courts are open to the public, it's hard to justify the stance that only people who appear in person at the courthouse should be able to witness the proceedings.