8074 – I Heard It Through the Grapevine


Sir Walter Scott once wrote “what a tangled web we weave.”  Well, the web just got a lot more tangled as a result of this case.  It involved a lawsuit brought by recording companies against individual defendants, including students, for illegally using file-sharing software to download copyrighted songs without paying royalties.  One of the defendants, a student, moved to allow the Courtroom View Network to webcast the trial live.  The Court that first heard the case allowed it, but the Court of Appeals reversed stating the rules clearly state that no person can take any photograph or make any recording or broadcast except as specifically provided by rule of Court or court order.  The students argued that webcasting is not broadcasting.  The Court acknowledged a possible semantic loophole but said that broadly speaking, both television and the internet are broadcast media and the difference between them is one of degree rather than kind.  So Courts may change webcasts, but webcasts haven’t yet changed the Courts.


In re Sony BMG Music Entertainment, First Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-1090, Selya, J., 4/16/09