Perhaps no case could be a more monumental example of the reality of modern e-discovery than the ongoing Viacom copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube filed back in 2008. In that dispute, the judge ordered that 12 terabytes of data be turned over, according to Matthew Knouff.
"People often say that one terabyte equals 50,000 trees, and 10 terabytes would be the equivalent of all the printed collections of the Library of Congress," says Knouff, who is general counsel of Complete Discovery Source, a New York City-based electronic discovery services provider. For the Viacom/YouTube case then, the demand was for the printed equivalent of the entire Library of Congress. And then some.
Experiences like these have left law firms and in-house attorneys scrambling to make sense of the new risks associated with the seemingly endless data produced by emerging technologies like cloud computing and social media—first as a way to get their own house in order and second as a sorely needed service for the vulnerable corporations employing them.