YouTube Evidence? You Bet


The New York Times reported Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court has moved into the age of YouTube. Writer Adam Liptak says:

The first citation in a petition filed with the court last month, for instance, was not to an affidavit or a legal precedent but rather to a YouTube video link.

The case in question was filed by a driver alleging the police used excessive force when they used a taser to subdue him after he was arrested following a traffic stop. But the facts are less important for our purposes than is the fact that the video, which originated from a patrol car dash camera, played a big part in the Supreme Court's decision. Liptak says the court even posted the video on its Web site so the public could see for itself.


This isn't the first time video has factored into Supreme Court decisions, but it certainly demonstrates that videos are more often used as evidence. And given the proliferation of camera phones and Web cams, it only stands to reason that the trend will continue to grow.


More importantly, however, it's also a reminder that electronically stored information as contemplated in the federal discovery rules encompasses much more than e-mail and spreadsheets.