The Oracle Australia and New Zealand Middleware and Technology Blog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Viacom vs. YouTube - an eDiscovery Event in the Making

News broke this week that Viacom has been successful in its application to get hold of information from YouTube on its users interactions with content hosted by the site. Initially, the legal proceedings commenced in March 2007 after Viacom had identified around 160,000 video clips hosted by YouTube that had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times. This is yet another example of a very public mega-litigation case between two organisations that focusses on electronic information held by one party being access by another.

All this is perfectly legal, and has existed around the globe in various juristictions for a number of years. In this case, Viacom will gain access to more than 12 terabytes of information - and as you can imagine there will be months (years even) of effort to establish the facts of the case. YouTube will be preparing their own defence - the costs for this action are going to be astronomical.

Now this is US based litigation, the laws that side of the ocean have been around for a few years now. Here in Australia, we are starting to see legislation (currently practice notes) coming into effect. Starting on July 1 this year, organisations across Australia are required to maintain appropriate records of all information including physical, eMail, ERP, CRM, HRMS and ECM systems. Where litigation cases of a certain size (over 200 documents) go through the court system, evidence must be produced electronically. The new privacy laws passed through Senate require organisations to maintain personal information in an encrypted manner and where loss of data occurs - this must be publically disclosed.

Whilst these new procedures may cause concern for some organisations, there are solutions available. Oracle, for example, announced its Universal Online Archive which allows for a scalable archiving environment that can initially be deployed for the main problem area for an organisation, eMail, but will over time allow for any unstructured, semi-structured or structured information to be held securely. Implementing this will go a long way to protecting an organisation from escalating costs and risks where frequent- or mega-litigation occurs.

Wikipedia has a number of great articles to read around eDiscovery and electronic evidence. I have provided these links here......

Wikipedia article on Digital Evidence
Wikipedia article on Electronic Evidence
Wikipedia article on Discovery Law

Oracle is running a series of events across Australia during August 2008. We will post details of these in the next few weeks - if litigation is an issue and you want to learn more, we would welcome you to attend one of these events.


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