A hearing was held on Tuesday before Judge Kaplan to determine the extent of public access to hearings and depositions in the DeCSS case. The plaintiffs sought a blanket protective order to bar the press from attending depositions, and to prevent many public documents from being posted on the Internet. The MPAA is disturbed by the speed in which their filings are made public in a meaningful manner. The backward logic about the flow of information in the electronic age that led to this litigation seems to be the rule of their thinking. Journalists and attorneys for such publications as Newsday and the Village Voice were on hand to oppose such a protective order.
In the end, the judge made a fairly evenhanded decision: Members of the public may not attend depositions. However, the content of depositions (with possible redactions, as per the confidentiality agreement) must be made available to the public within 10 working days, and the depositions of prominent people like Jack Valenti, Michael Eisner, and Fritz Attaway must be made available within 3 working days. Jack Valenti was also deposed in Washington on Tuesday - a transcript and video of his deposition will be made available on Monday.
Although nowhere near the level of discovery abuse demonstrated in the Kevin Mitnick case, the plaintiffs have been stalling and thwarting our efforts to depose witnesses and conduct meaningful discovery. Our trial has been moved up from December to July 17, 2000, and the discovery process must be expedited. Judge Kaplan stated on Tuesday that any misuse of the confidentiality agreement to try to obstruct discovery will be met with the harshest of sanctions. A hearing on these discovery issues is scheduled for 4:30 this afternoon at the Southern District of New York, 500 Pearl Street, in Courtroom 12D.