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Judge reopens debate on courtroom coverage in file-sharing case

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A federal judge who said she would allow live Internet streaming of a court proceeding in a file-sharing case may be preparing to…

A federal judge who said she would allow live Internet streaming of a court proceeding in a file-sharing case may be preparing to back off that decision, as she has invited the parties to move for reconsideration based on a newly discovered 1996 resolution.

U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner wrote in an order Wednesday that the court "has learned" of the Judicial Council of the First Circuit’s nearly 13-year-old resolution, which apparently neither party in Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Joel Tenenbaum raised in arguments over the proposed Webcast. Gertner said she was under the impression that the Judicial Council had nothing to say on the matter. In fact, the council decided in June 1996 "to continue to bar the taking of photographs and radio and television coverage of proceedings in the United States district courts within the circuit, except as otherwise provided for ceremonial occasions."

Tenenbaum is accused of illegally downloading and sharing songs that belong to the plaintiffs. Gertner agreed in January to let Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society stream live Web coverage of a pre-trial hearing, finding that the case had particular relevance for the public in the digital age.