If that beautifully presented meal you gaze upon was in fact prepared by unwashed hands, harbors e-coli, was cooked 3 days ago and never refrigerated, and has been licked by the cook’s cat, dog, and ferret, would you eat it?
Would you pay good money for original artwork, without guarantees of originality, papers of provenance, and proof of seller’s ownership?
Why then would you risk your life, liberty, property, and family by relying on “law” that might not really be “the law?”
If the laws you find online are not official, authentic, and current, does it matter that they are at your fingertips?
They may look official and they may look up-to-date, but how do you know for sure that they are?
Find background information and links to supporting documents in the 2012 article “Why States Should Adopt UELMA,” By Judy Janes, UC Davis Mabie Law Library Director.
Excerpt: “…. Ensuring the authenticity of legal information online also facilitates widespread transparency in government actions and government accountability to its citizens. Unlike the printed word, online publishing must be protected against tampering or accidental alterations. While states have the flexibility to choose specific technologies to publish online, there must be assurances that systems meet certain standards for security and authenticity.
Without the promise of reliability and accuracy of the information, discreet researchers will be reluctant to make use of the digital information. Additionally, some courts may not accept citing to online authority, and scholarship publishers may hold authors to print citations. Lack of authentication minimizes the use of digitized versions of online materials.
Under UELMA, a state’s online legal materials are presumed to be accurate for use both in the state and in other states that have adopted the act. The act also insures that historical and derivative information is legitimate and traceable….” [Link to full article.]
Find links in the article to:
AALL’s 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources” that found, “a significant number of the state online legal resources are official but none are authenticated or afford ready authentication by standard methods.”
A white paper titled “Authentication of Primary Legal Materials and Pricing Options” was recently released, with law librarian Dragomir Cosanici, California Office of Legislative Counsel, as a primary contributor.