L.A. board pushes to charge broadcasters for recording trials
CALIFORNIA — As a result of the media attention to the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion in late February proposing to charge commercial broadcasters for trial costs caused by the recording or live broadcast of the case.
County Supervisor Michael Antonovich introduced the measure, which asks Superior Court Judge Lance Ito to forbid commercial television and radio stations from recording or broadcasting the trial until the court receives payment for set-up costs, jury sequestration, security or other expenses “caused or increased by” the broadcasts.
County Counsel De Witt Clinton must now file the motion before Ito, who will decide whether or not to actually charge the broadcasters, according to Los Angeles media attorney Kelli Sager. Sager said media organizations are preparing papers to oppose the motion once it is filed before Ito.
Sager said the county counsel’s office told her that they are in “no particular hurry” to file the motion.
The resolution also calls for a report by the county’s attorney examining the feasibility of having the county record trials and sell the tapes for its own profit.
Because the county presently lacks the necessary equipment and expertise to provide trial recordings suitable for copyright, the resolution reads, it should contract with a private company to install the audio and video equipment. The same business then could provide the necessary editing and commentary for the county to copyright and sell recordings of trial to generate revenue, according to the resolution.
In a separate motion, made by Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke, the board agreed to set up a joint “task force” to study issues related to the county’s involvement in the electronic coverage of trials.