Tuesday morning: up by 5:00am, to Capitol Hill by 5:30, and parked by 5:45. I arrived at the steps of the Supreme Court by 6:00am and found my spot in line-about a hundred or so people lingered before me. I paced it so my coffee lasted about an hour as I stood listening to tourists, law students, and staffer/lobbyist-types espouse their understanding of the case: "this is like the VCR case" and "there is no theft because the artists don't lose anything-they still have the same thing that they had before the download." Several people protested by sitting with their laptops and surfing the web. I doubted entry into the land's highest court, but took satisfaction in the fact that people continued to extend the queue far behind me.
Around 7:30, a police officer handed out tickets to the first 50 in line, which caused some to leave in defeat. The rest of us remained, somewhat hopeful, but primarily bound by inertia and desperation. Somewhere between 8 and 8:30, a small group of folk-looking musicians, maybe 8 groggy individuals, approached bearing guitars and signs reading "feed a musician" and "don't steal my music." They began their rebuke of the legal system and Grokster supporters with inaudible singing and melodic strumming-it was totally harsh. The crowd barely noticed. The police wouldn't permit them on the actual steps due to their menacing nature I suppose. TV Camera crews began setting camp, and soon I was handed a Morpheus button by a highly polished PR-type-he was nothing like Morpheus in the Matrix.
The real excitement started when the Grokster crew showed up. There were 10-15 people, armed with uniform black t-shirts and signs demanding that we "save betamax" and "fight for your right to innovate." Most of the crowd whooped in response. I spent the next hour or so begrudging the members of the Supreme Court bar and their much shorter line, interrupted only by a prophet who ranted about "us" not letting "them" take over the planet with artificial intelligence.
By 10:00 it was pretty much over-the first fifty ticket holders went inside the court. Nevertheless, I punished my self by remaining in line until about 11:30 when I saw Fred von Lohmann descend the steps. I headed for the Capitol City Brew Pub, ordered a burger (medium), fries, and an ESB, reflected on the morning's events, and considered the technological future of online music.
A first-hand report by Jason Allen CodyPosted by AZ at April 1, 2005 01:05 PM | TrackBack