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Most situations will still fall back on the legal authority of the paper
document. Using a PDF "print out" of it, stored in some sort of 'auditable'
fashion would probably be next. If it's a contractual document then both
sides would do well to make sure their legal (not necessarily business)
interests are effectively covered. Also given the nature of conveyance
through the mail there's that added legal aspect (as in 'mail fraud').
Little of which parallels in electronic transactions save for whatever
contracts the parties may have entered into.
There's some case law associated with electronic records, even the IRS has
allowances for managing expenses electronically. But when the situation
turns legal one would do well to have traditional media to fall back on.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick Marshall" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> i've been thinking of archiving with xml, but i'm going to stick with
> pdf's for documents at the moment.
> the discussion on xlinks, and rendering etc has left me with this problem:
> if we archive with xml, what is the legal status of the "document"? eg
> say i archive a document as xml, (an invoice for example) and later
> change the rendering algorithm. now when i print another copy and go to
> court to collect some money the debtor turns up with an earlier rendered
> version and they aren't the same "look". i know and a court would know
> the substance is the same, but would i have a problem with my record
> keeping because the format that people read can change? it's an
> integrity issue. and how do auditors cope? or are they solving the
> problem by developing audit standards in the xml accounting stuff that
> would make the rendering format inconsequential provided all the content
> was rendered (and how would they know that - if say i left out a
> discount in a later rendering, but it was in the oriiginal?)?
> i understand this is a country by country issue, but is it being
> considered anywhere?