Mass Law Blog

First Circuit: Judge Gertner, You Do Not Have the Authority to Permit Webcasting in Your Courtroom

by | Apr 17, 2009

The First Circuit’s decision upholding the RIAA’s challenge to Judge Gertner’s decision to permit webcasting of a motion hearing in the RIAA v. Tenenbaum case was issued on April 16, 2009, very shortly after oral argument.

The First Circuit, interpreting a D. Mass. Local Rule, held that U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner’s interpretation of the local rule concerning photographing recording and broadcasting of courtroom proceedings was “palpably incorrect”.

This result is quite disappointing for many people who had hoped that the First Circuit would hold that Massachusetts District Court Judges have have the discretion to webcast court proceedings in their courtrooms, and that this would be a first step toward allowing the public to view federal district court civil proceedings. The decision will, many hope, lead to a change in the pre-Internet Age Rule that was found to prohibit the webcast.