Saturday, April 20, 2013

Authentication of US Legal Materials Moving Forward With Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

There is an interesting post on the In Custodia Legis blog of the Law Library of Congress about the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA).

The Act was drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws as a model that state legislatures can adopt to designate their online legal materials as official.
"Digital technology makes documents easy to alter or copy, leading to multiple non-identical versions that can be used in unauthorized or illegitimate ways. Unfortunately, the ease of alteration has introduced doubt in users’ minds about the authenticity of many of the digital documents they encounter (...)"

"While not proscribing any particular preservation or authentication method or technology, the law establishes a digital preservation framework for official electronic legal materials moving forward."

"If legal material defined by the act is published only electronically it must be designated 'official' and meet the requirements of the act. If there is a print version of the legal material, an official publisher may designate the online version 'official,' but the requirements of the act to authenticate, preserve, and provide access must be met. Once designated 'official,' the Act requires the legal materials be:
  • Authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered;
  • Preserved, either in electronic or print form; and
  • Accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis."
There is more discussion of the UELMA on

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:28 pm


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