Authenticating Contents and Appearance of Websites

In re Homestore.com, Inc. Securities Lit., 347 F. Supp. 2d 769, 782-83 (C.D. Cal. 2004).

Courts typically require the testimony of a person with knowledge of the website’s appearance to authenticate images of that website. “To be authenticated, some statement or affidavit from someone with knowledge is required; for example, Homestore’s web master or someone else with personal knowledge would be sufficient.”

Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 236 (3d Cir. 2007)

The court cannot assume that a website belonged to a particular business based solely on the site’s URL.

United States v. Jackson, 208 F.3d 633, 638 (7th Cir. 2000)

Web postings purporting to be statements made by white supremacist groups were properly excluded on authentication grounds absent evidence that the postings were actually posted by the groups).

St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute v. Sanderson, 2006 WL 1320242, at *2 (M.D. Fla. May 12, 2006)

Internet Archive employee with personal knowledge of the Archive’s database could authenticate web pages retrieved from the Archive.

Telewizja Polska USA, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 2004 WL 2367740, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 15, 2004)

Affidavit from an Internet Archive employee would be sufficient to authenticate web pages retrieved from the Internet Archive’s database if the employee had personal knowledge of the Archive’s contents.

Novak v. Tucows, Inc., 2007 WL 922306, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2007)

Requiring testimony from the host of a web page, rather than from the Internet Archive, to authenticate the page’s contents.

Note: These cases can be found in DOJ’s “Searching & Seizing & Obtaining Electronic Evidence Manual.”