Facepalm: How much noise can an empty courtroom make? A lot! As anybody who has participated in a Discord voice channel can tell you, trying to hear anything of relevance is impossible when 100 people are trying to put their two cents in all at once. The judge at the hearing between Epic Games and Apple learned this lesson the hard way this morning.
As reported earlier, the bench trial between Epic Games and Apple was slated to begin today at 11:15 am EDT. However, it took the court a full 20 minutes to settle down those in attendance so the judge could hear testimony.
Because of covid, the trial between the two tech giants is being conducted via voice and video conferencing. The US Northern District Court of California in Oakland set up a phone number for those interested in listening in on the proceedings. People began dialing in just before testimony was about to start.
However, The Verge reports that it neglected to mute the public lines resulting in a cacophony of people shouting, "free Fortnite," "bring back Fortnite on mobile, please judge," or promoting their own YouTube channels.
More than 200 call-ins, many of whom were children, were chatting away or playing Travis Scott songs as court clerks tried muting all the channels. They were finally able to silence the mob at around 11:30 am EDT, and the hearing began with Epic's CEO Tim Sweeney testifying.
If you are interested in listening in or watching the trial, the District Court has set up information pages explaining how to dial in or enter the Zoom teleconference. Alternatively, you can tune into the live feed above.