Why You Should Be Tracking Your eDiscovery Media Files

01 April 2022 by UV eDiscovery media

Takeaway: eDiscovery applications often can’t process media the same as regular documents. And this means audio and video files are often skipped during data processing. So, make sure your eDiscovery service has a dashboard to track and alert you of this skipped media.

eDiscovery through your web browser makes life so much simpler.

Subscription services that run their eDiscovery software in the Cloud (instead of on your computer) can simplify your life significantly. That’s because you get to outsource all the hassle of buying new hardware, installing/updating new software, and troubleshooting errors that pop up. Instead, you’ll just sign into the software via your web browser and start working – like you already do with email. And all this for a small monthly subscription fee. Learn more about eDiscovery subscription services.

But your eDiscovery provider has to solve a few technical challenges to make all this work.

Computers can’t read documents as we humans can. Instead, they work off massive databases, similar to spreadsheets with thousands of rows of cells. So, each time you upload files into your eDiscovery software, they’ll need to be split up into little chunks that get slotted into database cells. And there’s a crucial step after this. To optimize data organization, your software creates a database index (a more advanced version of the simple indexes you find in college textbooks). That way, it can skim through the index and jump straight to the relevant data instead of trawling through the whole database each time you give it a command. But eDiscovery indexing is quite technically challenging since, unlike a textbook’s index, a database index has to constantly reorganize itself each time you upload more files to your case. Learn more about indexing.

And here’s where media files can cause problems. Because most eDiscovery applications aren’t set up to process them.

eDiscovery databases are set up to process files like Word documents, emails, and PDFs. But audio and video files are structured differently, so you can’t slip them into the same processing workflow. For example, GoldFynch usually skips processing media files, recording them as ‘Unsupported.’ You’ll still see them in your case, but they’ll be treated differently from all your other files. And you might still be able to play them, but only if your web browser has the right programming code (i.e., the right HTML5 element or older equivalents), the right media player, and the right operating system. Most importantly, all of this isn’t being run through GoldFynch. It’s a separate process involving your web browser and your computer.

This won’t necessarily affect your productions, though.

Even if your software can’t process media files, it’ll likely still be able to produce them. For example, GoldFynch produces all ‘Errored’ or ‘Unsupported’ media as native files. I.e., they’re kept in the same format you uploaded them in. (In contrast, you might choose to produce documents as native files, PDFs, TIFFs, or a mix of these.) As with all native files, the catch here is that you’ll need to install the relevant parent application to open the files – for instance, VLC Media Player for videos.

But this does mean your software won’t be able to protect media metadata as it does for regular documents.

eDiscovery applications like GoldFynch protect document metadata, which is like a digital footprint tracking a file’s history. This metadata is extremely valuable when building a case but gets altered easily unless your software is designed to protect it. (Learn more about metadata.) And since media isn’t routed through GoldFynch’s processing workflow, its metadata won’t be protected. This means you could mistakenly alter, for example, a video’s ‘last opened’ metadata entry or metadata to do with its chapters/sections, intellectual property (e.g., a Creative Commons license), rendering/decoding information, and more.

That’s why your software must be able to track these unsupported media files.

Unsupported files are manageable if your software alerts you about them. That’s why we gave GoldFynch a dashboard to help users track case statistics. So, you’ll be able to see how many files weren’t processed, why they weren’t processed, and a pie chart with the ratio of processed and unprocessed files. You’ll also be able to see how many files you’ve uploaded, the proportions of different file types (PDFs, emails, images, etc.), file family connections, and the primary dates associated with each file (e.g., when the file was uploaded).

eDiscovery has other similar challenges you’ll need to solve, which is why it’s worth investing in the right software.

GoldFynch comes with more than just a feature-packed dashboard. It also solves fundamental challenges with eDiscovery file review, redaction, production, production sharing, and more. And you might like these things about GoldFynch, too:

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?