Article X. Contents of Writings, Recordings, and Photographs

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Rule 1001: Definitions.

For purposes of this article the following definitions are applicable:

(1) Writings and Recordings - "Writings" and "recordings" consist of letters, words, numbers, sounds, or their equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, magnetic impulse, mechanical or electronic recording, or other form of data compilation.

(2) Photographs -  "Photographs" include still photographs, x-ray films, video tapes, and motion pictures.

(3) Original - An "original" of a writing or recording is the writing or recording itself or any counterpart intended to have the same effect by a person executing or issuing it. An "original"of a photograph includes the negative or any print. If data are stored in a computer or similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight and shown to reflect the data accurately is an "original."

(4) Duplicate - A "duplicate" is a copy produced by the same impression as the original, or from the same matrix, or by means of photography, including enlargements and miniatures, or by mechanical or electronic re-recording, or by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent techniques which accurately reproduce the original.

Advisory Commission Comments.

Tennessee's existing best evidence rule, also known as the original document rule, undergoes expansion in proposed Rules 1001 and 1003. As a practical matter, the most significant provision is the definition of "duplicate"in Rule 1001(4), which encompasses the copies familiar to all lawyers with copying machines. Support for admissibility can be found in Bolton v. State, 617 S.W.2d 909 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1981). The copy usually would be admissible on an equal plane with an "original" under Rule 1003.

Advisory Commission Comments [1999].

The Commission believes that the language in subsection (1) defining "writings and recordings" is sufficiently broad to cover electronic imaging, a process by which documents are read into a computer by a scanner for electronic storage. That is a "form of data compilation." Moreover, the General Assembly reenacted the Uniform Photographic Copies of Business and Public Records as Evidence Act, T.C.A. § 24-7-119, effective April 29, 1998.

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