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Epic Games v. Apple

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  1. Court Access

Case Number: 4:20-cv-05640

Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Motion Filed: April 16, 2021

Background: In advance of the high-profile bench trial involving Apple and Epic Games, the Reporters Committee and 18 media organizations filed a motion urging the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to expand press and public access to the proceedings.

The case, which has garnered significant public attention, stems from Apple’s decision last year to remove Epic Games’ popular game Fortnite from the App Store for attempting to circumvent its commission system. Epic Games alleges Apple violated antitrust laws. The trial is set to begin on May 3.

As of the date of the motion, COVID-19 protocols at the Northern District of California prevent the press and public from accessing the trial in person. In addition, the court had previously indicated that remote public access would be limited to audio only. In its motion, the media coalition requested that the court designate an overflow room in the courthouse for pre-authorized members of the news media to view the proceedings via closed-circuit broadcast and/or designate at least one seat in the courtroom for a pool reporter. The motion also requested that the court distribute exhibits used in the trial to the news media as soon as possible, and for both audio and video of the proceedings to be accessible through Zoom.

Quote: “Both public health considerations and the public’s interest in access can be fully accommodated by pre-authorizing a designated number of journalists to enter the courthouse and designating an overflow room in which they can observe the proceedings via closed-circuit broadcast.”

Update: In an April 21 order, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers stated that the court would allocate two seats to be used by pool reporters. The judge also included instructions for members of the news media to sign up to use a dedicated audio line to tune into the trial. Requests must be submitted through this online form by Thursday, April 29, 2021. Exhibits from the trial will be made publicly available electronically.

Filings:

2021-04-16: Motion for trial access

2021-04-16: Court order re: motion for trial access

2021-04-21: Pretrial order