E-Discovery Order May Be a First

A Los Angeles magistrate has ordered a Web search engine to collect customer data stored in random access memory in perhaps the first case to require such discovery.

TorrentSpy, a search engine that directs users to video files, is appealing the order, the Recorder reports. The company is being sued for copyright infringement by six movie studios seeking access to RAM to learn more about the files sought by site visitors.

Data is stored in RAM memory for quick access but it is overwritten or deleted when computers are shut down.

Lawyer Ira Rothken of Novato, Calif., who represents TorrentSpy, told the legal newspaper this is the first case he could find where a court considered RAM data to be discoverable. He believes it could lead to costly preservation orders in other cases as well.

“Lawyers will be flinging around preservation letters, coming up with all kinds of creative ways to tell the other to preserve RAM,” he said. “That would cause huge economic implications. If it’s not changed, it can create e-discovery chaos.”

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