Peter Kafka

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NoTube: Supreme Court Blocks YouTube From California’s Prop 8 Trial

12-angry-men-4Here’s a historic first you won’t be seeing today: Coverage of a federal trial via YouTube.

The U. S. Supreme Court has put a halt, at least temporarily, on plans to let Google’s (GOOG) video site stream coverage of the “Proposition 8″ trial, which kicked off today in a San Francisco courtroom.

California voters approved Prop. 8, a ban on same-sex marriages, in last fall’s elections, and the court is now being asked to overturn the law. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker was going to allow the trial to be covered, on a tape-delayed basis, on the world’s biggest video site.

But the Supreme Court this morning granted a temporary order overruling Vaughn. The court didn’t explain its reasoning, according to the Los Angeles Times, but perhaps we’ll hear more down the road–the ruling is only supposed to remain in effect until Wednesday.

In the meantime, if you want nearly real-time coverage of the proceedings, you still have other options. The San Jose Mercury News, for instance, is covering the trial from the courtroom. Here’s reporter Howard Mintz’s report on Judge Walker’s explanation of the Supreme Court decision:

Walker is beginning the proceedings by discussing his effort to broadcast the trial by posting it on the court’s Web site by using the YouTube platform. He just noted the court has received more than 138,000 responses to the proposed court rule change that allows broadcast, most in favor. The judge informed the court that only 32 people opposed it, prompting chuckles when he said “the returns are in.”

Other options include Twitter, of course. The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the advocacy group that filed suit to overturn Prop 8, has a hashtag here, for instance.

And if you really want video, here’s another option–an anti-Prop 8 video starring the likes of Jack Black and John C. Reilly:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work