This week there was a Federal Court hearing regarding the Epic Games vs Apple case in Australia. And the Justice reminded everyone not to record it.
Justice Middleton issued a Court Order on June 9 warning anyone attending or tuning into the case was not to record Court proceedings.
“Unless the Court otherwise orders, no person, being a member of the public, who is observing the hearing of the proceeding by accessing any audio or video link may make any audio or video recording or photograph of the hearing or any part of it.”
The order also said that no-one may participate in or interrupt the hearing.
According to the order, taking notes of what is seen and heard in proceedings is fine, as is publishing fair reports.
“The Court notes that a contravention of order 1 may constitute a contempt of court and be punishable by imprisonment, fine and/or sequestration of property.”
Recordings of hearings in Federal Court being prohibited is nothing new. The Federal Court website states that “Recording of the hearing, including for the purpose of making any transcript, is strictly prohibited.”
It also says that “Any direction made by the Court concerning the use of any communication or recording device must be complied with.”
While you can use a phone, laptop or tablet while sitting in on a hearing, they must not cause a disturbance.
What’s happening with Apple and Epic Games in Australia?
Back in November 2020 Epic Games began proceedings against Apple in Australia. This was off the back of Apple removing Fortnite from the App Store in August. This occurred after Epic purposely allowed players to purchase Fortnite’s in-game currency directly from the mobile apps on iOS and Android.
This went against Apple’s App Store guidelines, which only allows purchases directly. In most cases Apple gets a 30 per cent cut of all sales.
Epic alleged that the removal was anti-competitive and in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA).
Proceedings began in March 2021, with Apple requesting a permanent stay on the case, stating that Epic and Apple had signed a commercial agreement that all legal proceedings would play out in the Northern District of California.
This case is currently underway and has been wild so far.
The stay was granted by Justice Perram in order to allow the case between the two companies to play out in the U.S. first. However, Apple appealed this decision, arguing that decisions that impact Australian consumers should be decided by an Australian court. The ACCC
The ACCC also requested to be appear during the appeal hearings due to the implications this could have for Australian consumers.
According to New Daily, Epic Games’ representative, Neil Young QC, said in a hearing on Wednesday that the decision to grant the stay could have an adverse impact.
“He’s inappropriately disregarded the public interest aspects of this case and the third-party benefits that would flow from the matter staying in this court,” Mr Young stated in regards to Justice Perram’s decision.
Young is also have said to have stated that this judgement could signal to possible flaunters of Australian competition law that, “you can avoid the operation of such laws by a forum selection clause you impose on other parties.”
“That is the most undesirable public interest consequence that would undermine the deterrent effect of the legislation.”
Correction: an earlier version of this story said that the court order was issued due to someone recording Wednesday’s proceedings. It has since come to our attention that this may not be the case as some Justices issue these orders as a general rule in their cases. We regret the error.