The media remains locked out of the pre-trial depositions regarding the Department of Justice, the nine co-operating states and Microsoft as the settlement is agreed to the long-running antitrust case.

Media organizations - including the Associated Press, CNN, and Dow Jones & Co - plan to take legal action to gain access to the depositions unless they can come to an agreement outside of court, said Lee Levine, an attorney from Levine, Sullivan & Koch, which is representing the organizations.

Attorneys for the media have said they would consider accepting access to the transcripts of interviews after they occur, and after they have been "thoroughly scrubbed" to remove confidential information, according to the transcript of a court meeting obtained by Macworld's parent company IDG.

Public access District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued an order last week that invalidated an earlier ruling that had opened depositions to the public during the Department of Justice's antitrust battle with Microsoft.

At the same time, however, Kollar-Kotelly issued a related decision that said she would not close the depositions by default. Microsoft had won a protective order to keep confidential information disclosed during the trial secret, which Kollar-Kotelly upheld. However, the judge said she would consider opening up the depositions to the public if she was convinced that such access wouldn't reveal confidential information, such as trade secrets.

Depositions are already under way. Jim Barksdale, the former CEO of Netscape Communications, will be interviewed in the pre-trial process this month. Other interviews include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and executives from SBC Communications and AOL Time Warner.

Remedy hearings in the ongoing case are scheduled to begin on March 11.