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Massachusetts State Laws on Optical Images


State Archivist and Records Manager:

Archives & Records Mgmt. Director (Vacant)

220 Morrissey Blvd., Boston MA 02125

617-727-2816 fax: 617-727-8730

Kathryn Hammond Baker, Asst. Archivist

for Records Mgmt. & Acquisitions

Anthony DeSantis, Director of Records Center



There is currently in Massachusetts no statutory or case law directly

addressing the admissability of optically recorded data in court.

Existing statutes which may have a bearing include c.66 (MGL) and c.4

s.7(26) (GLM) which govern public records and define records "all books,

papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements,

statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data,

regardless of physical form or characteristics..." Similarly the

Business Records Act (c.233 s.78 (GLM)(1992 ed.)), provides for "an

account kept in a book...or by any other system" provided the record is

made in good faith and in the regular course of business. C. 233 s.79

(GLM)(1992 ed.) constitutes the acceptance by the Commonwealth of the

Uniform Photographic Copies of Business and Public Records as Evidence

Act, may be subject to an interpretation thatoptical storage

"accurately reproduces the original" and therefore represents a legally

acceptable storage medium. Finally, the language of the Massachusetts

Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "any party may serve on any other

party a request to produce and permit the party making the request,

inspect and copy any designated documents (including writings, drawings,

graphs, charts, photographs, phono-records, and other data compilations

from which information can be obtained, translated, if necessary, by the

respondent into a reasonably useable form)..." (MRCP 34(a)) MCRP 44

allows for the admissability of copies of official records.

None of this speaks directly to the question of optical storage or, more

specifically, scanning, solely to the admissability of computer records


David Best

Massachusetts Archives (T) 617-727-4062

220 Morrissey Boulevard (F) 617-288-8429

Boston, MA 02125



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