A recent e-discovery decision from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California provides an opportunity to reflect a bit on the permanence of storage media. It has also inspired debate as to when temporarily stored information becomes "electronically stored information" that needs to be preserved and, where relevant, produced in response to discovery requests.
The May 27, 2007, order directs defendants in an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit to collect and produce information stored in the random-access memory of their servers.
Depending on the ideological and topical bent of the commentator, this decision (a) heralds a substantial victory in the war against copyright infringement; (b) sounds the death knell for Internet user privacy, or (c) could require anyone involved in a lawsuit to turn over information stored by their computers' RAM hardware. Closer inspection of the federal magistrate judge's decision reveals the correct answer is probably (d) none of the above.
The article relates to the case of Columbia Pictures Industries v. Bunnell, CV 06-1093 FMC (JCx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.