Saturday, January 23, 2010

Authenticating Web Pages as Evidence

This is a very thorough article about the pitfalls of getting web page screen shots or other web content into evidence at trial. While it focuses on Federal Rules of Evidence, and Federal trials, it makes clear that different Courts are going to view web evidence differently. Can you get it in with an Affidavit? Maybe. Can you get it in without the person who printed the screen shot? Maybe. The best path appears to be to get it stipulated to, although a Request for Admission might be indicated. If the opposing party denies the Request, then find out before the trial what the Court will require for authentication, and then do it. If admitted, and you win, the opposing party will have to pay your costs. The article also gives a nod to the "Wayback Machine", which is a great place to find out what a website contained at a time and date in the past. The Internet Archive even has a page that gives instructions on how to get an Affidavit from the organization to establish authenticity of a page. Whichever authentication method, if any, that you choose, if the content is important to your case, it is better to get an answer as to admissibility before trial.
Original Article


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