Mass Law Blog

"Talkin ‘Bout My [Internet] Generation" and Gatehouse Media says, "Give Us A Break Judge, the Registration is in the Mail"

by | Jan 16, 2009

Some interesting goings on on the copyright front in D. Mass. are worth a brief mention.

First, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner has ruled that proceedings in the RIAA’s case against Joel Tenenbaum, alleging illegal downloading, may be “webcast” by the Berkman Center. Whether the actual trial will be webcast is undecided as yet, but upcoming in-court motions will be. The audio-visual will be streamed live by the Berkman Center at no charge to viewers. Tune in on January 22nd to see the circus.  [Update: the First Circuit held that the trial could not be webcast].

I find the following quote from the decision to be quite humorous:

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. 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. . . Consistent with the nature of these file-sharing cases, and the identity of so many of the Defendants, this case is one that has already garnered substantial attention on the Internet.

While the Plaintiffs object to the narrowcasting of this proceeding, . . . their objections are curious. At previous hearings and status conferences, the Plaintiffs have represented that they initiated these lawsuits not because they believe they will identify every person illegally downloading copyrighted material. Rather, they believe that the lawsuits will deter the Defendants and the wider public from engaging in illegal file-sharing activities. Their strategy effectively relies on the publicity resulting from this litigation.

Meanwhile, in the Gatehouse Media copyright case against the New York Times, Gatehouse has filed an unopposed motion, asking Judge Young to rule on whether the court has jurisdiction before the copyright registrations for the material in dispute have been issued by the Copyright Office. This is a frequent controversy, and one of interest to copyright lawyers representing plaintiffs whose unregistered works are the subject of infringement – may they proceed with suit, and perhaps a preliminary injunction, or are they bound to wait for the registrations to issue? Apparently, this issue was of enough concern to Gatehouse Media that it filed this brief, collecting and arguing the legal precedents on this issue.