RIAA Hearing To Be Broadcast Online

    January 19, 2009

On Thursday, the Recording Industry Association of America will confront yet another university student in court over file sharing allegations.  This time, though, the RIAA may have to do so in front of an unfriendly audience, as U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner has agreed to allow live online coverage of the hearing.

The Courtroom View Network is going to provide video to the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which will in turn make everything publicly available on its site.  The video should be free, and for the sake of fairness, completely unedited from beginning to end.


The RIAA complained, but Judge Gertner responded, "[T]heir objections are curious.  At previous hearings and status conferences, the Plaintiffs have represented that they initiated these lawsuits not because they believe they will identify every person illegally downloading copyrighted material.  Rather, they believe that the lawsuits will deter the Defendants and the wider public from engaging in illegal file-sharing activities.  Their strategy effectively relies on the publicity resulting from this litigation."

So at the hearing, the RIAA’s lawyers will have to walk some sort of line between trying to win their case, discourage file sharing, and not anger any of the music industry’s remaining fans.

We may get to see more of the tightrope act in the future, too.  Even though only the January 22nd hearing has been taken into account so far, Judge Gertner acknowledged, "the Court will address any further "narrowcasting" should that be necessary . . ."