No live tweeting in iiNet-AFACT hearing

No live tweeting in iiNet-AFACT hearing

Summary: There will be no tweeting from the High Court during the hearing of the final appeal of the 2009 case between film and TV studios group the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and internet service provider (ISP) iiNet, with the court sticking by rules banning electronic devices.

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There will be no tweeting from the High Court during the hearing of the final appeal of the 2009 case between film and TV studios group the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and internet service provider (ISP) iiNet, with the court sticking by rules banning electronic devices.

When Justice Dennis Cowdroy first allowed journalists and others to tweet from the Federal Court during the original hearing back in 2009, it was seen as a landmark break from the tradition of the court, and the first of its kind in Australia.

Since then, tweeting from court has been a relatively frequent occurrence, with journalists tweeting from the appeal of the original ruling to the iiNet case, and most recently during the ongoing smartphone and tablet patent disputes between technology giants Apple and Samsung.

The highest court in the land, however, will stick to tradition, and not allow the use of electronic devices in the courtroom during the iiNet-AFACT hearings, now scheduled to appear over two and a half days from 30 November. The High Court confirmed to ZDNet Australia that the following court rule will remain in place:

We ask that you do not take any of the following items into the courtrooms when the court is in session: cameras, radios, pagers, tape players, tape recorders, mobile phones or any other electronic equipment.

People seeking to attend the hearing will be required to surrender all electronic equipment before entering the courtroom, according to the High Court.

The use of Twitter in the courts is still a contentious issue, and whether people will be allowed to tweet during proceedings ultimately comes down to the discretion of the presiding judge. Earlier this month, Victorian Magistrate Peter Mealy banned court reporting via Twitter after Crikey journalist Margaret Simons had been live tweeting evidence being given at the proceedings of the committal hearing of a former police officer accused of leaking sensitive information about a police operation to The Australian.

Former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally also found herself in hot water this week after tweeting during a joint select committee hearing. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Keneally's tweets slamming the Liberal chairman are being investigated over whether they had breached the rules regarding publishing committee deliberations.

Topics: Piracy, Government AU, Security, Telcos, Social Enterprise

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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