Court accidentally opens the Epic v Apple dial-up line to all speakers

Court accidentally opens the Epic v Apple dial-up line to all speakers

Always double check your conference call settings. The Epic v Apple trial began this morning with kids yelling overtop each other on a packed phone line. “I would suck all of you to get Fortnite mobile back,” said one voice.

While much civil court business has been taking place over Zoom since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Epic v Apple trial is being held in-person. Participants are required to wear masks, and the number of people in the courtroom is restricted.

I missed the commotion when I dialed in to hear Epic’s opening statement, but QZ reporter Nicolás Rivero caught it, as did The Verge.

So that the public, press, and each party’s extended legal team can listen in, the speakers have been mic’d and audio from the court is being broadcast live on dial-in lines that support a few hundred people. The lines are not supposed to let anyone outside the courtroom talk, but apparently this morning they did. The Verge heard people say “free Fortnite” and “bring back Fortnite on mobile please judge,” as well as play Travis Scott songs.

For now, the court has fixed the issue. It seems like a fitting start to a legal dispute that kicked off with Epic intentionally breaking Apple’s rules and then launching an anti-Apple PR campaign directed at its Fortnite playerbase.

When I called in at around 9 am Pacific—unaware that any of this had happened—I was asked by the automated system whether I wanted to join as a host, which I thought was odd. I opted not to. Maybe it was unrelated. I heard part of Epic’s opening statement without disruption.

When I called in at around 9 am Pacific—unaware that any of this had happened—I was asked by the automated system whether I wanted to join as a host, which I thought was odd. I opted not to. Maybe it was unrelated. I heard part of Epic’s opening statement without disruption.

For now, the court has fixed the issue. It seems like a fitting start to a legal dispute that kicked off with Epic intentionally breaking Apple’s rules and then launching an anti-Apple PR campaign directed at its Fortnite playerbase.

You’re free to listen in to the trial as well, if you’d like. Epic and Apple will hear from witnesses from both companies, including Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and Apple CEO Tim Cook, as well as economists and representatives from other companies, such as Xbox VP of business development Lori Wright. Note that recording or rebroadcasting the court audio is prohibited (although a number of people have done so anyway). The trial will set an important precedent, though I don’t expect it to be action-packed. Epic and Apple will be retreading arguments they’ve been making for the past year (I explain what the trial is all about here), and the trial is expected to last about two weeks. After that, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will write a decision.

 

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