Georgia Court Streams Ridiculous 'Kraken' Lawsuit Hearing On YouTube; Then Tells People They Can't Repost Recordings

from the not-how-it-works dept

We have lots of concerns about court transparency, and how more transparent court systems would be nice. One of the more interesting consequences of the pandemic, in which many court hearings are now done virtually, is that courts have been much more open to allowing more realtime access to these court hearings. In one of the more high profile (and more ridiculous, if that’s possible) lawsuits challenging the election results — the so-called “Kraken” lawsuit in Georgia — there was a hearing earlier today. The court announced that the audio would stream on YouTube:

That says that the audio will be streamed on YouTube and provides you with a link. However, beneath it, it says the following:

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is participating in an audio pilot program permitting a limited number of district courts to livestream audio of certain civil proceedings with the consent of the parties. Under the pilot program, audio of qualifying civil proceedings will be livestreamed on the court?s YouTube channel.

Audio recordings will not be available for playback on YouTube after proceedings have ended. Audio, in full or in part, from any proceeding may not be recorded, broadcast, posted or reproduced in any form.

And, uh, what? I kind of understand (if seriously disagree with) rules in courts saying that people in the courtroom are not allowed to record, but cannot fathom any possible way in which the court can say that audio that they’ve streamed out on the open web cannot be recorded or used in any form.

And already there seems to be some crackdown on those who did make use of the recordings. Reuters legal reporter Jan Wolfe was told to delete her tweets with the recording of Judge Timothy Bratten shutting down the lawsuit:

And, if you go to the original YouTube video where the court hearing was officially streamed, you now see this:

This seems absolutely ridiculous. I also cannot conceive of any possible basis for which the courts can force someone, especially a reporter, to not record or republish using the publicly available audio stream. And it’s not that difficult to find the audio stream reposted elsewhere.

As reporter Brad Heath notes, this seems both short-sighted and beyond the authority of the courts:

I’d go beyond short-sighted. It’s ridiculous. And demanding people take down such things seems to raise serious 1st Amendment issues.

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Comments on “Georgia Court Streams Ridiculous 'Kraken' Lawsuit Hearing On YouTube; Then Tells People They Can't Repost Recordings”

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Mort Chewary says:

Re: Actually, the Memory Hole is already implemented.

They apparently have not yet learned that once something is posted to the internet, it is forever on the internet and there is nothing you can do about it.

You don’t read of major matters like all the EVIDENCE of election fraud, say for on-topic ref, because WHY? — A) It’s being/been suppressed. B) You read only snowflake-safe sources like Techdirt. C) The biggest reason: You don’t want to hear it, anyway! It’d upset all your notions.

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AC Unknown (profile) says:

Re: Re: Actually, the Memory Hole is already implemented.

Really? Then why did Republicans, including Trump’s own attorney general, say that there wasn’t any evidence of fraud? Why are Trump’s cases getting thrown out of court, which includes by judges his administration appointed?

Something tells me you’re just swimming in the fetid filth of conspiracy.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'It's in this box?. 'Can I see it?' 'No. My box.'

Ah, but you see it’s super-duper extra special secret evidence, the kinda that magically evaporates any time someone tries to check it’s validity, the fact that it keeps disappearing is just proof of how special and real the evidence is, and/or proof that every judge that’s been involved has special evidence destroying magic powers.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Actually, the Memory Hole is already implemented.

You don’t read of major matters like all the EVIDENCE of election fraud, say for on-topic ref, because WHY?

Ooooh! I know! I know!

Because there isn’t any.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Election Fraud

I think I know what happened – someone dressed up as Bigfoot when they went to vote this year.

Photo gets snapped, everyone knows Bigfoot isn’t registered to vote, hence "massive" election fraud, now with photographic evidence!

It might be difficult for Rudy to get his hands on that photo from a hospital bed though.

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bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Actually, the Memory Hole is already implemented.

Well, if they were presented in a court of law, where all filings are of public record, media censorship wouldn’t matter. What, do you think we can’t be bothered to read the court filings? Think again. None of the relevant court cases are under seal, so it’s not being suppressed. Again, if there was any truth to the allegations of fraud or electoral manipulations, we would have seen some evidence in the court filings or heard about it from the Trump DOJ. And yet we have seen nothing. Or do you think that Trump-appointed judges and William Barr have an anti-Trump bias?

So no, we’re not being deliberately blind to the evidence, nor is it being suppressed. Your side refuses to present any where it actually matters: to investigators or in a court of law. The only reason I can think of for this is that to present any remotely persuasive evidence of fraud would mean perjury or lying to federal officers, both of which are crimes and violate legal ethics.

Maybe you’re projecting here with C, and the idea that Biden could possibly beat Trump in a fair election would upset all your notions? Perhaps you’re the one who should recheck their biases.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Or do you think that Trump-appointed judges and William Barr have an anti-Trump bias?

It’s pretty funny that despite stuffing the government and law enforcement with the BEST PEOPLE, even Trump’s own people can’t put forward evidence that favors Trump’s lunacy. And it has to be left to fringe nutjobs like blue to argue his case, poorly at that.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

If you don't want it up, don't put it up

Streaming court proceedings only to take them down immediately afterwards, and prohibit people from reposting them… that’s almost impressive really, it takes some real stretching to shoot yourself in the back like that but they somehow managed it.

If you’re not allowed to repost the stream or clips of it then that makes commentary, criticism and/or reporting effectively useless, since you have nothing to point back to beyond ‘I’m pretty sure they said X’, which doesn’t hold up very well(just ask Trump’s lawyers), and with those out of the way you’re essentially streaming the proceedings simply on a whim, without that actually doing much good.

Either put the stream up and let people copy and repost it, or stick with the default and don’t, don’t try to straddle the line and end up with the worst of both options.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: If you don't want it up, don't put it up

it takes some real stretching to shoot yourself in the back like that

Naw, it was in the foot (it not being fatal, y’know). Much easier. Imo, this synergizes on the worst of both options, and makes it even worse: Public Domain. 1A prior restraint. All of that, introduced by trying to have it both ways.

While I sympathize with the court not wanting to provide incentive for prosecutors (or defense attorneys) to turn the court into a performance for the public, I can’t see how disallowing essentially any direct quoting from the stream advances that goal. I mean, the court transcript is (theoretically) available, right?

Ian W (profile) says:

Re: If you don't want it up, don't put it up

If memory serves, this is the same state that had to have the Supreme Court explain to them you cannot copyright "the law"…
Supreme Court Says Georgia’s ‘Official Code’ Is Public Domain — Including Annotations

Maybe now that the Supreme Court has explained to them how state published books and copyright work, Georgia can petition them explain how broadcasting and the internet works too!

Anonymous Coward says:

And court precedent, from the Volokh Conspiracy

"where the government has made certain information publicly available, it is highly anomalous to sanction persons other than the source of its release." Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989). In such a circumstance, "it is most appropriate to assume that the government had, but failed to utilize, far more limited means of guarding against dissemination than the extreme step of punishing truthful speech."

So… can’t reproduce the courtroom stream? Really?

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restless94110 (profile) says:

Ridiculous

So let me see if I understand:

A judge does not consider the facts in the case at all and instead reads his ruling from a piece of paper written before he read the suit and that means the case brought before the judge who had already made up his mind the week before is "ridiculous?"

And that is your idea of justice?

Now that is truly the definition of ridiculous

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'The Dear Leader is Never wrong!'

I believe that’s the current go-to excuse for why ‘election fraud’ cases are being thrown/laughed out left and right these days, that the judges are simply refusing to look at the very real super-duper extra secret evidence and are going into them already having made up their minds, since that’s a lot easier for Trump’s cult to swallow than judges tossing their cases because they’re nothing more than paranoid conspiracy-theory laden garbage backed up by lies, baseless speculation and/or wild-ass assertions.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Ridiculous

A judge does not consider the facts in the case at all

On a motion to dismiss, the judge only takes well-pleaded facts as true to see if there is an actual case/controversy between the plaintiff(s) and the defendant(s) that can be legally remedied by the court and that is within the court’s jurisdiction. If the alleged facts are insufficient even if true to maintain a plausible case, then the case gets dismissed without further evaluation of the factuality of the evidence. If the provided evidence do not support the claims being made, then the case may be dismissed. If the law does not support the requested remedy for the given facts, the case may be dismissed.

Furthermore, the more extraordinary the claims being made or the wilder the remedies being sought, the harder it is for the case to survive past dismissal.

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