By Kevin O'Keefe

Legal media’s future includes Internet broadcasts from American courtrooms

As part of excellent Twitter discussion this morning on the future of legal media, Rex Gradeless, a third-year law student at Saint Louis University, pointed out a pending motion seeking permission to Internet broadcast from the courtroom.

Professor Charles Nesson and his team of Harvard Law students have filed a motion to broadcast courtroom coverage of an RIAA trial. Nesson is defending Joel Tenenbaum, who has been sued by the RIAA for $1,050,000 for allegedly downloading and making available 7 songs in a shared folder when he was 17 years old.

Nesson’s reasoning:

The judicial process is essentially an exercise in civil discourse. Given the keen interest of the diverse parties following this litigation closely, and the potential learning value of this case to a broad audience beyond, this case presents an ideal instance in which judicial discretion should be exercised under the auspices of the rule to admit Internet to the courtroom.

Per Zeropaid, who reported on the development:

It would certainly be an interesting step forward for the judicial process and solidify the public nature of our courts system in the 21st century. Many cases have a very real impact on us all, yet distance and accessibility prevents us from observing them first hand.

Allowing the case to be broadcast on the Internet would be an important milestone for the judicial process and would no doubt reassert the publics’ role as observers of the administration of justice in this country.

Exactly. This is the future of legal media.

Like citizens reporting on what is going around them and having it broadcast on CNN, lawyers and lay people will report from the courtroom on cases of interest to them. The Internet broadcasts will be empowered and spread to a wider audience by legal publishers, broadcasters, and curators of legal content.

Access to America’s courtrooms is key to our democratic society. It’s shocking as a lawyer to see how much the public does not know. Powerful information and facts disseminated in courtrooms across the country everyday never reach the public.

The Internet and evolving Internet publishing and broadcast tools are the key to providing the public meaningful access to public information they are effectively deprived of today.

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