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Can I use a screenshot as evidence at a trial?

by Marta Palacio ( 20, 2016

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Last month, Google received over 91 million URL removal requests, from copyright holders
and organizations who represent them.
This number has been increasing month by month:

Googles transparency report.


Since theres an increasing number of people who decide to take action and claim their
copyrights when their works are being misused online, it makes sense that more tools
should appear to facilitate making these claims. What to do when someone uses your work

without your permission, or in a way dierent from what is established in the works
Learn more:What to do in case of plagiarism or other unlawful use of your content.
On the Internet, it can be dicult to provide evidence for such violations, as well as for
other types of oenses and crimes. They may take place on a site only visible for logged in
users, on a private conversation via chat, or the oender might decide to erase all evidence
in the last moment.
In order to provide evidence, especially when facing a trial, it is customary to present
screenshots. It is usual to accept these screenshots as evidence at rst, but the judge must
determine whether or not they can be considered valid later on.
One doesnt need to have deep technical knowledge in order to falsify screenshots.
Tutorials on how to edit screen captures or how to impersonate someone in a social
network are everywhere, anyone can nd them and theyre easy to follow.

Video tutorial Create and Edit screenshots with Photoshop CS5


Depending on the context, a simple screenshot can be too easy to dismiss as evidence.
Whenever in doubt, an expert can be called in to examine the screenshot and determine
whether or not it is fake, although it can be dicult to guarantee. Also, these intermediate
steps slow down the process, and an expert isnt always available.
Similarly, there are times when one can choose to request data to the websites company
itself. But when it comes to services such as WhatsApp, Twitter or Facebook, this becomes
an almost impossible task. The request can be delayed for months, resulting a nonviable

solution to prove the authenticity of the screenshot.

Judges are growing more demanding when having to determine the authenticity of digital
evidence, seeing how easily faked they can be.
For example, lets say an oended user takes a screenshot of a Facebook conversation
manually, from his own computer. The thread is later deleted by the oender. How can the
rst user prove the conversation took place, without sending an injunction to Facebook to
ask for a formal conrmation?
In other words: Digital evidence captured manually by users are admitted as evidence;
thats the normal thing. However, in this increasingly uncertain scenario, there should be
tools to certify digital evidence objectively. This is, a trustworthy third party, so the
evidence cant be easily dismissed.

Safe Stamper Web ( For static content, multiple screenshots, video
and sound.

Whenever you need something more solid than a usual screenshot, Safe Stamper
certicates provide objectied evidence that you can present at a trial.
Whats the dierence?The screenshots or the recordings, in this case, arent made
manually by the user from his own browser. They are done by Safe Stamper, inside a
virtual computer, from a dierent server. The browser is controlled by Safe Stamper. The
content displayed on the site at that specic moment is saved, without any possibilities to
alter it.
The resulting certicate is available at a public URL (or protected by password), so the
judge or an expert can check that nothing has been manipulated.

Recently, a Safe Stamper user who had been plagiarised, shared with us her experience at
a trial. Her own screenshots had been mocked at by the defendants, who said that she had
photoshopped them. Safe Stampers screenshots, on the other hand, were accepted as
evidence of the plagiarism.
Read more:How to take certied screenshots using Safe Stamper
We hope that both Safe Stampers tools and this article will help you navigate and share
contents more securely.
Stay safe and see you onTwitter (, Facebook,
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Selling art online: Tips from three successful


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How to take certied screenshots using Safe


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