Whether the public has a right to make a “fair use” copy of DVDs is on trial in a San Francisco federal court. Yet the public may never know whether the verdict was reached fairly because the presiding judge removed the press just as the nuts and bolts of the case was to be aired out. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel’s contempt for the media is widely known by the San Francisco tech press. Patel, a Carter appointee, presided over the Napster trial in one of the smallest courtrooms in the San Francisco federal building – despite unsuccessful press pleas that the high-profile case be moved to a substantially larger courtroom that perpetually sits vacant. Hence, many reporters were excluded for lack of space.
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