Ritvo, et al. 2007 (†616)Ritvo, Elizabeth, Jeffrey P. Hermes, and Samantha L. Gerlovin. "Shutting the Door on Online Forums and Chat Rooms in Defamation Actions: Excluding Inflammatory and Prejudicial Statements by Third Parties on the Internet" Computer and Internet Lawyer 24:5 (May 2007), p.1-11.
- best evidence (p.6): Any written, recorded, or photographic evidence that a party seeks to admit into evidence is also subject to the best evidence rule, Federal Rules of Evidence 1001, et seq. Under this rule, a party seeking to admit a writing, recording, or photograph must submit the original to prove its content. The definition of an "original" states: "If data are stored in a computer or similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight, shown to reflect the data accurately, is an 'original.'" Further, duplicates are admissible to the same extent as originals, unless there is a genuine question as to the authenticity of the original or, under the circumstances, it would be unfair to admit the duplicate in lieu of the original. When a plaintiff presents a printout of exactly what appeared on a Web page, in the form in which it appeared, the court is likely to find that it constitutes an "original" in accordance with the definition in Rule 1001(c). When a plaintiff seeks to admit evidence of comments made in chat rooms and other online forums by presenting the text of the online discussions copied into a new document, however, the court should scrutinize the evidence more closely because of its susceptibility to tampering. (†1407)