Camping Out At Eldred - Notes Part One
On Lisa Rein's Radar
October 10, 2002
Below is what I managed to write at 3am from the front steps of the Supreme Court. I meant to post it that night, but things started getting really hectic as the hour of 6am approached because we had to all take turns going back to a room I had rented close by so we could all change into our court clothes and dump off all of our blankets and stuff.
I'm going to keep posting these in small segments, but I will be putting them all together into some kind of a comprehensive document next week (I'll be on the road till next Tuesday.)
10/09/02 - 3:00am -- From in front of the Supreme Court Building, Washington DC
Tonight has been a really great time so far waiting in line.
I thought there would be a ton of people in line, but it has turned out to be just us for the first few hours (from 7pm till around 10 or 11pm). So we may have overdone it a bit showing up at 7pm, but there was just no way to know for sure and we didn't want to risk it. (As it turns out, only 25 members of the general public were admitted!)
Jace Cooke got there first at 7pm (right when I asked him too!) -- I was still packing up my friend Doug McVay's car with the blankets and things I was bringing, so that made me second in line when I got there around 7:30.
We were on the steps very briefly before the Police Officer on duty asked us very nicely to move down to the sidewalk where the "first line" usually forms. (I will be posting more details about how the lines work in another posting...)
We laid out the blakets I had brought to cover about two or three ten foot squares so we would have enough room for our group as they arrived. I had never met Jace before this, so the time flew by really quickly talking about things. We ordered a pizza and yapped the time away.
Lodrina and Macki showed up around 10pm. Then Seth Schoen [ http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/ ] and Aaron Swartz [ http://www.aaronsw.com/ ] showed up around 10:30, and Kevin Burton [ http://peerfear.org/ ] got there around 11pm.
There were a few other small groups of mostly law students that showed up too over the course of the evening between 11pm - 1am. We had coupons from our earlier pizza now, so we ordered four more pizzas and some people got a SET game going. The entire Internet Bookmobile [ http://www.internetbookmobile.org/ ] gang showed up around midnight too!
The U.S. Supreme Court Federal Police Officers were consistently helpful and courteous over the course of the evening. Each time a new officer came on duty, he or she would walk over and ask what the case was about. They seemed really interested too -- and they all "got it" pretty quickly in terms of what the public was losing as a result of these multiple extensions to what what originally intented to be a "limited" copyright term of 14 years, renewable once to 28 years.
All of the Officers seemed rather impressed that we would feel so strongly about it to wait in line all night to see the Argument first hand. When the outdoor patrols stopped soon after midnite, one of the Officers gave us his card so we'd have his phone number if we needed anything over the course of the night. There was a police car and/or truck about 200 yards away kitty-corner to the Supreme Court for most of the evening too -- that made me feel a little safer as I attempted to close my eyes and get some sleep.
Good thing I brought extra blankets just in case -- some of the law students that showed up later that weren't in our weren't as well prepared, so I gave them a blanket and a cup of hot tea. I also had toe warmers if necessary but only Macki ended up needing them. I also had a couple extra pairs of gloves that we were rotating as needed.
So now it's 3:00am in front of the Supreme Court and I can't sleep. Jace, Kevin and Seth have gone for a walk around the Capitol, and most of the others are bundled up in blankets sleeping or trying to sleep. (I can hear snoring so I know somebody's sleeping.) It's extremely quiet and beautiful here out in front of the Supreme Court. I'm taking video of it so you can all see for yourselves when I get back home next week. (Sorry for the hold up, but my travel Mac isn't equipped for video editing.)
It's not as cold as I had feared, but I sure wish I could get some sleep. Guess I'm just too excited...
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