Wayback Machine Builds Reputation with Judiciary

Gavel An April 2016 decision from the District of Kansas has given judicial notice to information contained in screenshots from the Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine preserves images of websites as they appeared at particular points in time. In the case at hand, Marten Transport, Ltd. v. PlattForm Advertising Inc., (D. Kan., Case No. 14-2464-JWL, 4/29/16), Marten sued PlattForm for infringement, alleging that PlattForm had continued to display Marten’s logo on PlattForm’s website after the two had stopped doing business together.

The court determined that testimony from an employee of the Internet Archive concerning the screenshots showing PlattForm’s website at the time in question was enough to meet the standards in Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 901. Further, the court determined that the employee’s expert testimony under Rule 901 was not even necessary to authenticate the screenshots, as the court decided that it must take judicial notice of the screenshots under Rule 201. Rule 201 requires that the court must take judicial notice of a fact if it is not subject to reasonable dispute, can be determined from accurate sources, and a party requests it and supplies the necessary information. In this case, Marten made such a request and supplied the information.

This case follows a number of decisions that show an increasing willingness by judges to accept and admit factual information from the internet. For example, see O’Toole v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 499 F.3d 1218 (10th Cir. 2007); Francarl Realty Corp. v. Town of East Hampton, 628 F.Supp.2d 329 (E.D.N.Y. 2009); Jordan v. Greater Dayton Premier Mgmt., 9 F.Supp.3d 847 (S.D. Ohio 2014).

Just for fun, here is a look our Law Library’s website in 1997.


Reference Librarian at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library