Internet Evidence — Newspaper Articles Taken from Internet Sufficiently Authenticated by Distinctive Newspaper and Website Designs, Dates of Publication, Page Numbers, and Web Addresses

From Ciampi v. City of Palo Alto, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50245 (N.D. Cal. May 11, 2011):

***Plaintiff has submitted a number of newspaper articles in support of his defamation claim.... Defendants object to these articles on grounds of relevance, hearsay, and lack of proper authentication. However, these articles are directly relevant to Plaintiff's defamation claim because they demonstrate publication of statements made by several of the Defendants. See Fed. R. Evid. 401 (evidence is relevant if it has "any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable"). Moreover, insofar as they are offered as evidence of publication, the articles are not hearsay because they are not offered to prove the truth of the statements contained therein. See Fed. R. Evid. 801(c). Finally, the Court finds that most of the articles are sufficiently authenticated. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 902(6), printed materials purporting to be newspapers or periodicals are self-authenticating. Here, however, Plaintiff submits copies of newspapers, as well as print-outs of internet publications. Generally, evidence will be admissible if "sufficient proof has been introduced so that a reasonable juror could find in favor of authenticity or identification." United States v. Tank, 200 F.3d 627, 630 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting United States v. Black, 767 F.2d 1334, 1342 (9th Cir. 1985)). In considering internet print-outs, courts have considered the "distinctive characteristics" of the website in determining whether a document is sufficiently authenticated. See, e.g. Premier Nutrition, Inc. v. Organic Food Bar, Inc., No. SACV 06-0827 AG (RNBx), 2008 WL 1913163, at *6 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2008); Perfect 10, Inc. v. Cybernet Ventures, Inc., 213 F. Supp. 2d 1146, 1153-54 (C.D. Cal. 2002). In this case, most of the articles submitted by Plaintiff contain sufficient indicia of authenticity, including distinctive newspaper and website designs, dates of publication, page numbers, and web addresses. See Premier Nutrition, Inc., 2008 WL 1913163, at *6 (finding internet print-outs including web address and dates printed to be sufficiently authenticated). Only the internet print-outs of the Daily News articles contained in Exhibits 321-4 and 321-7, which do not contain a web address and lack other identifying characteristics, appear to be insufficiently authenticated. The Court will not consider these two articles, but overrules the objection as to the remainder of the articles in Exhibits 321-6 to 321-14.

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