Judge Rules Steve Jobs Deposition Video Will Not See Public Release

jobs_poseThe Steve Jobs deposition video that played a key role in the iPod antitrust trial Apple faced in court last week will not see a public release, ruled by District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

In a filing released today (via AppleInsider), the judge denied a request issued by several major news outlets last week, including CNN, Bloomberg, and the Associated Press. The news agencies had filed a motion to have the deposition video, which was filmed just six months before Steve Jobs' death, released to the public.

Citing past precedent of a decision made by the Eighth Circuit court in a case involving a video deposition of former President Bill Clinton, the court decided the Jobs video was not a judicial record and should be treated as any live testimony.

Here, the Court agrees with the Eighth Circuit and concludes that the Jobs Deposition is not a judicial record. It was not admitted into evidence as an exhibit. Instead, the Jobs Deposition was merely presented in lieu of live testimony due to the witness's unavailability, and was and should be treated in the same manner as any other live testimony offered at trial. As is typical of all live testimony, it is properly made available to the public through its initial courtroom presentation and, subsequently, via the official court transcript, the latter of which is the judicial record of such testimony.

Part of the reason the court decided not to publicly release the video was due to Apple's strong objection to the motion. Had there been no objection, Judge Rogers' filing says the ruling "might be different."

In the video in question, Steve Jobs explained that Apple's airtight Digital Rights Management (DRM) policies were the result of "black and white" contracts with record labels. Preventing the iPod from playing music from competing services was merely "collateral damage," he said.

Jobs was said to be evasive in his testimony, answering questions with "I don't remember," "I don't know," or "I don't recall" more than 74 times. He also had a "snarky" attitude, according to CNN, asking "Do they still exist?" when questioned about RealNetworks.

Apple's iPod trial ended yesterday, with a ruling in its favor. After deliberating for just three hours, the jury decided that Apple had not harmed consumers with anticompetitive practices. Had Apple lost the case, it could have been on the hook for up to $1 billion in damages.

Top Rated Comments

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74 months ago
I think this makes sense. There was nothing to be gained by releasing the video given that the transcript is available.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago

The fact that a corporation can squelch such a request should be of concern to those who value freedom of information. The judge admits that she might have released the video had Apple not objected.

Was the request ghoulish? Absolutely. But it is the duty of the Fourth Estate to doggedly pursue what it perceives as public information. Freedom of the press is not always a pretty thing.

You can have the information - the article says exactly that.

As is typical of all live testimony, it is properly made available to the public through its initial courtroom presentation and, subsequently, via the official court transcript, the latter of which is the judicial record of such testimony.

But that's not what you're asking for. You want to watch the famous dead man talk. Look who is making the request - news sites desperately wanting to be the first to get it on the air in order to create a spectacle and score ratings. The filing was not from anyone acting in the interests of freedom of information, that there were things revealed that people have a right to know about - it was out of self-interest.

If information is what you genuinely want, then you will be satisfied with the court transcript.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Glad they heeded Apple's request.

The presentation video of Steve and the Cupertino council members is worth watching - for those who want a video to watch.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
74 months ago

The fact that a corporation can squelch such a request should be of concern to those who value freedom of information. The judge admits that she might have released the video had Apple not objected.

Was the request ghoulish? Absolutely. But it is the duty of the Fourth Estate to doggedly pursue what it perceives as public information. Freedom of the press is not always a pretty thing.


I have no problem with the press "doggedly pursuing" it. That's what I would expect them to do. But it's absolutely reasonable for the court to say no. That's the nature of checks and balances.

And Apple was the defendant in the case so they're the ones who had standing to request that the court not release it. That's not "squelching" it - that's making a request. The judge was the final arbiter.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
Nothing unexpected... It would have been fun to see snarky Steve Jobs but... oh well.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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74 months ago
I miss the snark—probably because he was often correct and his brand of snark cut right through the bullcrap. He was great at doing that.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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