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Fri, 30 Jan 2009

Webcast of of RIAA Hearing?

EFF Leads Call of Support for Live Webcast of RIAA Hearing

Public Deserves Inside Look at File-Sharing Lawsuit

Boston - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a
federal appeals court today to allow the live webcasting of
a hearing in one of the thousands of lawsuits that have
been brought against users of peer-to-peer file-sharing

The District Court granted defendant Joel Tenenbaum's
request to allow an upcoming hearing to be webcast on the
website of the Berkman Center at Harvard, which also serves
as Mr. Tenenbaum's counsel.  The record company plaintiffs
have now asked the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to
block the webcast.

"The record companies have long maintained that they
brought these lawsuits against ordinary users to start a
national conversation about peer-to-peer file-sharing,"
said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.  "What better way is
there for the public to learn what the record companies are
doing than by seeing for themselves what happens in these

In the amicus brief filed today, EFF -- representing a
coalition of media and public interest nonprofits -- notes
that the RIAA litigation campaign has elicited strong
opinions and passions on both sides, making this case a
good one for an initial experiment in webcasting federal
district court proceedings.  EFF's brief was also signed by and the Internet Archive, both of which
have offered to host the webcast in addition to the Berkman

Also joining EFF's coalition is Ben Sheffner of the
"Copyrights & Campaigns" blog, who supports the views of
copyright owners.  Mr. Sheffner notes that, because he
lives in Los Angeles, the availability of a live webcast
would greatly enhance his ability to provide his readers
with a full picture of what occurs at the hearing, without
having to rely on accounts in other publications that he
believes are biased against the plaintiffs.

Other signers to the EFF amicus brief include the Media
Access Project, Free Press, and the California First
Amendment Coalition.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
recently announced that it had stopped filing new lawsuits
against individual file-sharers.  Yet it is continuing to
pursue thousands of ongoing lawsuits like the one against
Mr. Tenenbaum in the federal courts.  Over the last five
years, more than 35,000 people have been targeted in the
RIAA's litigation campaign.

For the full amicus brief: 

For more on the RIAA's lawsuit campaign:

For this release:

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to
websites in the world at


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