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Harvard Law Forces Live Net Coverage Of RIAA Trial

Harvard logo The RIAA says it is abandoning new lawsuits against file sharers. but existing court actions are moving forward.  Thanks to a team of Harvard law students, one of these trials will be shared with the world in an unprecedent fashion. A Massachusetts District Court judge has granted the request of a Harvard Law legal team authorizing internet broadcast coverage of a case brought by the RIAA.

RIAA Professor Charles Nesson and his team of Harvard Law students had filed a motion to admit the Internet into the courtroom, which is traditionally prohibited. Nesson is defending Joel Tenenbaum, who has been sued by the RIAA with punishment of more than $1 million dollars for downloading 7 songs.

“In many ways, this case is about the so-called Internet Generation -- the generation that has grown up with computer technology in general, and the internet in particular, as commonplace,” wrote JudgeGertner in her opinion. “It is reportedly a generation that does not read newspapers or watch the evening news, but gets its information largely, if not almost exclusively, over the internet.”  The full opinion can be viewed here.

CVN will provide a live feed to the Berkman Center, and although details are still being worked out, it is anticipated that the Berkman Center will make the stream publicly available on its website for free.  The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School will be underwriting costs and making the content available to the public under a creative commons noncommercial license.  

“The federal court is open not only as a court of justice but a forum of civic education,” said Nesson. This opportunity will allow intelligent public domain to shape itself by attending and engaging in a public trial of issues conflicting our society.”

“The immediacy of internet-based access to court opinions allows lawyers, professors, students, and reporters to better keep abreast of the most recent legal developments,” said Aaron Dulles, one of Nesson’s students.   Debbie Rosenbaum, another student who is keeping a daily Twitter account of every development in the case, added, “It seems like the new media community is eagerly anticipating this opportunity.  The response from people following the case has been tremendous.”

For more information visit www.joelfightsback.com.