has just been reversed by the First Circuit in In re Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The court relies chiefly on the text of a District of Massachusetts local rule, but also suggests that the Judicial Conference's policy for federal courts likewise cuts against such webcasting. And though the policies involved bar "televising," the court concludes that
The difference between televising and webcasting is one of degree rather than kind. Both are broadcast mediums. The absence of a specific reference to webcasting is not telling; both at the time when the policy was promulgated and at the time when the resolution was adopted, Internet webcasting had not attained the ubiquity that currently prevails. What is more significant is that the intention of both the Judicial Conference, and the circuit council is transparently clear. That intention is to forbid all broadcasting of federal district court proceedings in civil cases, save only for the enumerated exceptions. The webcasting that the district court authorized contravenes that intention.
The court also rejects the argument that there's a First Amendment right to have proceedings webcast:
While the new technology characteristic of the Information Age may call for the replotting of some boundaries, the venerable right of members of the public to attend federal court proceedings is far removed from an imagined entitlement to view court proceedings remotely on a computer screen.
This is no surprise, since that has been the view of the federal courts on the subject for quite some time.
Careful students of the First Circuit will be able to guess who wrote the opinion when I tell them that the opinion uses the words "impuissant," "perscrutation," and "sockdolager." Going through the Google results for "perscrutation" reveals only 324 items (as usual, including some junk pages), though I'm sure there will be more soon.