Extract from Fronteo’s article “Handling Audio and Video Files to Meet eDiscovery Requirements”
In today’s world, audio and video files are routinely created and sent via mobile devices either by SMS text or through social media and work collaboration apps such as Zoom and Teams. As a result, the amount of discoverable audio/video evidence, including content from dashcams, body cams and security cameras, has increased exponentially since 2020. Additionally, data in these formats identified as relevant to a case can be quite significant for strategic and case management purposes, thereby rendering the handling of audio and video files more important than ever with respect to eDiscovery workflows and requirements.
In this blog, we will discuss a few key challenges associated with handling audio and video files, cover best practices, and provide an overview of currently available solutions to help overcome nuances with these unstructured data types.
Current State and Key Challenges with Audio & Video Files
Multimedia files, such as audio and video, present unique eDiscovery challenges since they do not contain standard file characteristics found in PDF or Microsoft Office files, for example, that can leverage existing eDiscovery processing and review workflows. This distinction has made management of these data types one of the biggest challenges in eDiscovery today. According to reports, over 3 trillion minutes were recorded on Zoom in 2021, and while this trend is likely to increase, certain industries enforce legal mandates that require organizations to retain audio and video files, which is another contributing factor to the growing magnitude of these data types.
To offer one example for contextual purposes, a recent case involving a Midwest manufacturer encompassed hundreds of audio and video files showing the installation of the organization’s product in the field. In this matter, the issue focused on defective installation by the manufacturer and failure to maintain by the Department of Transportation. Over 1,500 hours of media files were collected and processed through advanced transcription technology. In the end, less than 10 hours were determined to be relevant.