Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Judge Tries to Unring Bell Hanging Around Neck of Horse Already Out of Barn Being Carried on Ship That Has Sailed

In a rather interesting story, it turns out Eli Lilly, some lawyers, a wiki, and its contributors are having a bit of fun with freedom of the press and prior restraint. Apparently, some documents under seal were subpoenaed, found their way onto a few web sites and then onto a wiki. The Judge has issued a rather expansive order demanding that the distribution stop and that copies be pulled back in.

There's a showdown in federal court on this issue this week.

Here's a link to the web site of the lawyer who apparently managed to "free" the documents.

Here's a link to a story on the New York Times web site.

And finally, here's a link to a blog maintained by a law professor that refers to this issue. I borrowed the very imaginative title of this post from his site.

Whatever your thoughts about the merits of the underlying dispute, this case is a good lesson in how futile it may be in today's hyperconnected world to enforce protective orders, or at least to clean up after documents are released into the wild.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I suppose that's distinguishable from flogging the greasy spot on the road where the dead horse used to be...

too bad, though - these restraining orders are not necessarily a bad thing. I tend to come down on the side of the fair trial rather than the public's right to know RIGHT NOW rather than at an appropriate time (though have more sympathy for judges deciding appropriateness than, say, governments.)

John G