Generally, these transcripts are numbered by page, and each page has an identical numbered series of lines that always correspond to the same text to ensure a page:line cite is always static. In a finalized transcript, the page and line numbers will always correspond to the same testimony text from one copy of a transcript to another. This ensures a page:line citation by an attorney, or the court, will always refer to the same location. The web application re-formats the transcript into an xml-type format, generally described as associating a range of words with a specific page:line reference, as would be the case if each line of testimony was inserted into a series of database cells to comprise a column.
The purpose of this edit is to notate an error in transcription that would need to be included in an errata sheet. The system notes the original text of the line and compares it to the altered text. Any combination of font characteristics can be selected by a user to denote that text that should be deleted, that text that should be altered, or that text that should be added.
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Font characteristics may include strikethrough, font color, font size, font, background highlighting, and similar characteristics. The user can, by way of the GUI, instruct the system to run a report of the changes made and compile them in an errata sheet. The user can elect to view either the original content of the original line of text or the altered text of the revised line of text, or a markup with all changes.
A reviewer of the transcript can employ an additional step to confirm the accuracy of the court reporter's transcription. Optionally, the text of the transcript can be synchronized to the video. In concert with a synchronization index, the user can click or perform a gesture upon a line of testimony to cause the video to begin to play back at that portion of the video where those words were spoken. In this way, a deponent when reviewing the court reporter's written transcription of his testimony is not limited to his recollection of what was said, but rather has the exact video recording with which to compare the written transcription for accuracy.
Moreover, attorneys can review the errata submission in conjunction with the actual video recording to ensure accuracy of the transcript. Accordingly, the system may facilitate more timely and trustworthy errata submissions, reduce the temptation for abuse because the video is available as a check, and ensure an accurate transcript displays electronically in the courtroom as synchronized, scrolling text with a video image, which may improve inefficiencies inherent in other systems. Once the transcript has been reviewed by the witness in the system and changes for accuracy have been made, the user can 1 create a written hardcopy report that aggregates all changes into an errata sheet, as has historically been the practice, for signature and affixation to the official hardcopy of the original transcript, and 2 transmit to the opposing party or the court the resultant electronic file, which includes the witness's changes.
Any of the software operators, preferably including those using mobile computing devices, including opposing parties, can 1 quickly electronically jump to succeeding or preceding errata notations or navigate via hyperlinks , 2 check the errata notations for accuracy against the video, 3 ensure the accuracy of the transcript as it will display with the trial presentation software, and 4 play video in the courtroom that contains information from the witness's errata sheet submission as though it was part of the court reporter's transcription.
Advantageously, an errata sheet prepared and communicated in this manner also may be electronically tracked, for example by affixing an unalterable, encrypted time and date stamp from a trusted, independent source, should the submitter ever need to verify that the errata corrections were completed within the time contemplated by the governing rules of procedure and communicated to opposing counsel or the court. As shown, in FIG. In the example shown in FIG.
In addition, the deposition transcript has been updated to indicate the change made to the transcript at line 15 such that the original transcript and errata changes may be displayed together in synchronization with the deposition video. In some examples, the changes entered in the errata display area may be aggregated into an electronic errata sheet associated with the deposition transcript. Law firms are often tasked with transcript management on behalf of their clients. They commonly utilize a computer spreadsheet application, such as Microsoft Excel, to track changes, and they use a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, to type out their designations, sometimes in tabular format or longhand.
Use of spreadsheets and word processors may be cumbersome and inefficient for transcript management. Attorneys conduct review of transcripts in the context of internal review, and then in preparing for trial. In conducting internal review, or in transitioning from internal review to trial, it is often desirable or necessary to flatten certain designations. Similarly, one designation may be created and another one may be added at a later time but with a range that abuts the first designation.
If these abutting designations have the same issue code, for example, they should be able to be merged into one designation. The disclosed system e. A list of top level, global, or roll-up issue codes may include Plaintiff's direct designations, Defendant's counter designations, Plaintiff's counter-counter designations, Defendant's direct designations, Plaintiff's counter designations, Defendant's counter-counter designations, Plaintiff's objections, and Defendant's objections, as well as Confidential, Restricted Confidential, and Attorneys' Eyes Only.
In reference to the desirability of flattening designations prior to display of video clips in court, it may be advantageous for an operator of trial presentation software to flatten designations before creating video clips, because this reduces the total number of video clips to create as well as the number of edit points, thereby facilitating more efficient workflow. More typically, and problematically, three designations would have likely resulted in three distinct video clips and they would be played as a multiclip, or series of individual clips:.
Page:line range Clip title Using the system described throughout this disclosure, the logic of the software of the web application may recognize adjoining ranges of designated testimony. The logic may be employed to join, or flatten, these adjoining ranges. As shown, a plaintiff has made initial designations to a deposition transcript and a defendant has made counter designations to the deposition transcript. In this example, the system recognizes that the plaintiff designations and the defendant designations represent adjoining ranges of designated testimony and, based on the recognition, merges the plaintiff designations and the defendant designations.
The system displays a merged designations area that shows the designations that have been merged adjacent to the deposition transcript, which still shows the plaintiff designations and the defendant designations. Using the merged designations area, a user may verify whether or not the merging was proper and, if so, create a single video file that corresponds to the merged designations. As shown, a first user has designated page , line 13 to page , line 16 and a second user has designated page , line 0 to page , line The system compares the position information e. In response to the determination that the designations overlap, the system merges the designations into a single, merged data structure.
The merged data structure includes all of the designations made by the first user and the second user, encompassing the earliest starting point for designations to the latest ending point for designations. For instance, as shown, the merged data structure has position information indicating designations from page , line 13 to page , line The interface enables a user to add additional issues and apply all issues to a particular designation. The interface also allows a user to select a color with which the designations tagged with a particular issue will be displayed on a deposition transcript.
The issues assigned to designations may be used for flattening and merging designations, as described above. In communicating designations between parties, the system prevents one party from designating testimony that has already been designated by the other. For example, if plaintiff designates One way of understanding this function is with reference to FIGS.
In this manner, Plaintiff uses the left-most work pane to make annotations or to perform issue coding. The Plaintiff then communicates to Defendant that its designations are complete, and the Defendant begins to make counter-designations in the right-most work pane. Navigation of the transcript can operate on both work panes simultaneously, so it becomes easy for a Defendant to determine if counter-designations are needed in certain areas, without having to worry about overlapping annotation colors. The logic of the system prevents overlapping designations between parties.
As above where Plaintiff designated The result may offer a clean, concise view of designations within the two work panes. The web application may comprise logic configured to link one designation with another designation. For example, in a deposition transcript a Plaintiff may proffer a set of direct designations for a witness. Thereafter, the Defendant may desire to add material for completeness in a Defendant's counter-designation should the Defendant believe Plaintiff's direct designations were not a complete or accurate representation of that portion of the testimony.
In practice, however a Plaintiff may elect to drop its initial designation, making it a laborious process for the Defendant to eliminate corresponding Defendant counter-designations that should be removed as a result. Accordingly, the logic configured to link one designation with another designation provides functionality to automatically cause the deletion of a counter-designation if the designation to which it is linked is first deleted. This logic may be further described with reference to FIG. As shown, a first designation is made by Plaintiff in Plaintiff's work pane.
The Defendant's counter-designation is made in the Defendant's work pane, with logic to allow, or to compel, Defendant to identify that portion in Plaintiff's work pane that would correspond to Defendant's counter-designation. Defendant's counter-designation may be linked to more than one of Plaintiff's direct designations, with the linked designations being listed in Defendant's work pane.
Should each of Plaintiff's designations within that list be removed, the logic causes removal of the corresponding counter-designation. Again, one Defendant counter-designation may be tied to more than one of Plaintiff's designations. If all of those ties, or linkages, are severed by Plaintiff withdrawing his designations, then the logic may be configured such that Defendant's counter-designations are removed, or are identified as counter-designations that ought to be removed.
Alternatively, if Defendant has linked a counter designation to a Plaintiff's designation, and if the Plaintiff subsequently modifies the range of that designation, the Defendant can be notified, by the logic of the system, that one designation to which a Defendant's counter-designation has been linked has been modified.
The Defendant can make a determination as to whether his counter-designation should be deleted entirely, deleted in part, or left alone. With this logic to link designations, the parties are provided a new tool that may make efficient a work process that has historically been very laborious and fraught with potential for error. It may be advantageous to use the web application to import more than one transcript designation at a time. For example, when parties to litigation exchange their designations, each party needs to be able to import the designations of the other into his own working copy of the transcript.
As another example, video clips may have been created within trial presentation software that need to be integrated into a transcript annotation utility. As part of the logic of the web application, a user may batch import more than one designation at a time. This can be accomplished by creating a loadfile with a predetermined format to communicate the batch of designations.
For example, a loadfile using the StartPage. EndLine entries in series may be used. This format is the same as may be used to batch create video clips within trial presentation software applications. Upon ingest of the batch, the user may be presented a graphical user interface to assign an issue to each of the designations. Once parties to litigation have exchanged deposition designations, and objections thereto, with one another, it is often a requirement that a printed hardcopy be prepared for submission to the court.
The printed hardcopy is also useful for the attorneys' own reference. These submissions are typically color-coded copies of deposition transcripts for the convenience of the court and court staff. Historically, these color copies have been laboriously prepared by hand using a colored high-lighting marker on previously printed copies of the depositions. This method is extremely time consuming, it creates great potential for human error, and the work product is not easily revised or combined with the submission prepared by opposing legal counsel.
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Moreover, during the deposition designation and counter-designation process, each party may also lodge objections to any number of designations or counter-designations for the purpose of asking the court to exclude the testimony from introduction into evidence under the rules of evidence. The written note may comprise a reference to the evidentiary rule being relied upon by a party to warrant exclusion of the testimony by the judge as well as a short description or argument on the matter. It has been very difficult to view the objection and the testimony to which the objection was made, without using at least two separate documents or a table from a word processing application e.
Microsoft Word That is time consuming to prepare and has a high probability of human error. In the described system, the user is provided the facility to print hardcopies of the deposition transcript, including highlighting for each issue code in a different color, or a different font. For example, the user may be able to print objections on the same page as the transcript and in a location that is adjacent, or substantially adjacent, to the testimony itself.
The logic in the software of the web application, preferably working in concert with software operating on a mobile computing device including optionally utilizing the mobile computing device to communicate the print job to the printer , may be able to 1 print in a portrait orientation with two transcript pages comprising a column on the left half of the printed page, leaving the right half of the page for notes, such as an objection, to appear adjacent to the testimony to which a party has lodged an objection, and 2 print in a landscape orientation with a transcript pages comprising a column on the left half of the printed page, leaving the right half of the page for notes to appear adjacent to the testimony to which a party has lodged an objection.
Printing in this manner allows one convenient document to be produced where a judge can evaluate an evidentiary objection while simultaneously accessing the testimony to which the objection applies. The reader also can examine the context of the overall transcript because the transcript contains highlighted designations as well as the non-designated portions, comprising the complete transcript. A deposition designation has a color associated with it so the reader can immediately understand which party proffered the submission, including by reference to a color key that may be printed on the same page.
Likewise, a graphic element, for example an elongated, colored bracket or a rectangle bounding the designated text, may be used to identify the party making an objection and the range of text to which the objection applies. Printing may encompass communication with a printer to print on paper, creating a file in.
This printing method provides a new convenience to the reader, as at least two documents—a highlighted transcript and a table of objections and page:line cites to which objections are lodged—are consolidated into one. This printing method may solve a longstanding logistical problem for litigation professionals needing to submit deposition designations and objections to a court.
In addition to the printed copy, it may be advantageous to replicate on a computer screen the convenient layout of having objections adjacent to the testimony to which objections were lodged. Additionally, the judge can be provided facility to make an evidentiary ruling within the system. With reference to FIG. As a result, if the court elects to make a ruling, the date and time of the ruling is stored by the software, and such a ruling can be immediately communicated to the parties.
The parties can access the electronic document to learn what testimony has been excluded and what has been permitted, and a report can be generated and printed or saved for offline study and evaluation.
An example format for the synchronization index for use with the described system is an xml-type format, an example of which is shown in FIG. This xml-type format comprises tags to denote a transcript header, a transcript body, and a transcript footer. Metatags may also be present for display, including timed display, of graphics, images, advertising, secondary multimedia other than that primarily associated with the text of the synchronization index, logos and settings therefor, text, including foreign language translations, sounds, and so on.
Transcript annotations can be saved as an integral part of the xml-type formatted synchronization format. The example shown in FIG. Actual implementations may include more, perhaps much more, information. When video clips are created in trial presentation software, a report query can be executed to calculate and output the run time duration of each clip and the designated text. Historically video clips were created within the trial presentation software to generate a duration list. Because trial presentation software is often a tool not used by an attorney but rather a trial consultant with special expertise, typically employed only at a time very close to trial, it would be useful if the attorney could create a duration list apart from the trial presentation software and within an application used to annotate transcripts.
In some examples, all of this can be accomplished on a mobile computing device. As an example of cumbersome and inefficient workflow often experienced by litigators, the attorney creates designations using a highlighter on a printed transcript; support staff enters those designations into a transcript management utility, which carries the potential for error; the transcript management utility case is sent electronically to the trial consultant; the trial consultant runs a query from the transcript management utility to extract a.
EndLine format to be used as a loadfile for video clip import to a trial presentation utility; the trial presentation utility is opened, and the. With the described system, logic is employed in the software of the web application, and preferably within software executed on a mobile computing device, to calculate a duration list, without necessity of creating discrete video clips, by performing calculations from the synchronization index itself. For example, if a user annotates a page:line range within a transcript, the software examines the synchronization index to compute the time difference between video corresponding to EndPage.
EndLine and StartPage. In this manner, computations can be output for each annotation, for all annotations that comprise one issue, for merged issues, for more than one issue, and for the totality of all annotations. In this manner, the attorney can very quickly determine the appropriateness of content being designated because he has immediate knowledge of the run duration of the annotations being made.
The traditionally cumbersome and inefficient workflow is greatly improved. This provides the attorney a heretofore unavailable advantage, in that the strategy of determining what video to play in the courtroom has been a strategy historically left until the last moments of trial preparation, often as late as the day before video is to be played in the courtroom.
This trial preparation strategy can now be deployed much earlier in the litigation process, leaving available more preparation time for the attorney in the moments immediately before trial, or in the evenings on trial days when preparation time is most scarce.
Work that had consumed the attorney's time can be shifted to a trial consultant, as the actual play duration of video clips may vary slightly from the calculated duration list because the trial consultant can often fine tune the video to eliminate long pauses, false starts and stops, and correct inaccuracies or imperfections in timestamping of the synchronization index.
With the described system, this fine-tuning, however, is no longer prerequisite to the attorney's evaluation of overall run durations historically generated once video clips had been created, historically a very time consuming task at trial. As shown, the system computes and displays a total run time for all designations, a total run time for plaintiff designations, and a total run time for defendant designations.
The system may compute the totals in real-time as a user is viewing the transcript and video of the deposition, and editing designations for the transcript. The user may view the run time calculations and quickly perceive how changes being made to the designations impact run time of the corresponding video.
In some implementations, the system may continuously monitor changes to the designations and, when a change is detected, the system may reference the synchronization index to extract timing data associated with the new designations and compute the run time totals for the new designations based on the extracted timing data. When an attorney reviews a videotaped deposition and its transcript after the deposition, it is often helpful to have access to deposition exhibits that may have been physically before the witness during a line of questioning.
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It is a feature of the present disclosure to provide within the synchronization index information that would provide for the display of a document at the correct time within the deposition. For example, when an attorney places a document before the witness, marks it as a deposition exhibit, and asks the witness to identify it, metadata within the synchronization index can be configured to display that first page of the exhibit at that point within the deposition video. That point in time also corresponds to a page:line cite within the deposition transcript.
If, in the attorney's next question he draws the witness's attention to the third page of the deposition exhibit, metadata within the synchronization index can be configured to display that third page, and so on. Such independence allows video clips to be edited, merged and flattened without necessity to re-link the correct exhibit that should be simultaneously viewed with each video clip. Existing transcript management and trial presentation utilities lack this facility, making their use cumbersome and inefficient.
As shown, the interface in FIG. In the example shown, an exhibit has been linked to the designations made to the displayed transcript. The exhibit is displayed adjacent to the transcript testimony to which the exhibit is linked. The linked exhibit may be displayed at a time when a portion of the deposition video corresponding to the designations is displayed. Users may be able to interact with the linked exhibit area to add additional linked exhibits, edit existing linked exhibits e. The web application is used as a case management system to facilitate management of users, user permissions, team collaboration, transcript manipulation, and distribution of synchronization indexes and multimedia retrieval instructions for a mobile computing device.
Referring to FIG. The software code may be stored in a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium and may be executed by one or more processors to perform operations described throughout this disclosure. First, user permissioning logic 6 - 7 is present, generally to ensure each user has an account and that the account holder have access only to that content he has been authorized to receive. The user permissioning logic 6 - 7 may be understood with reference to a series of use cases. For example, consider a situation in which a plaintiff's attorney, a defendant's attorney, and a judge all are using the web application to review a deposition transcript.
In this example, the plaintiff's attorney, the defendant's attorney, and the judge should be able to view some information that is public and common to all users, but should not be able to view information that is private or confidential to one of the other users. The user permissioning logic 6 - 7 ensures that the plaintiff's attorney, the defendant's attorney, and the judge see only the information that they are permitted to view.
For instance, the user permissioning logic 6 - 7 controls display to the defendant's attorney and the judge, so that they can perceive designations shared by the plaintiff's attorney, but not confidential notes or annotations to the transcript made by the plaintiff's attorney. Similarly, the user permissioning logic 6 - 7 controls display to the plaintiff's attorney and the judge, so that they can perceive counter designations shared by the defendant's attorney, but not confidential notes or annotations to the transcript made by the defendant's attorney.
Second, file format and data parsing logic 6 - 8 is required. This logic is used to ingest transcripts from a user. Within the legal industry, for example, there are a number of various electronic formats for transcripts, including. Third, multimedia delivery logic 6 - 9 is provided.
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The multimedia delivery logic 3 - 9 functions to deliver multimedia content to a user. Fourth, mobile computing device function logic 6 - 10 is explained. Mobile computing devices may be different from one another, so a separate mobile computing device function logic 6 - 10 is often needed to facilitate communication of data and multimedia to the device.
Mobile computing device function logic 6 - 10 may include logic for the Apple iPhone running the Apple operating system called iOS, including iOS 3. By way of example, the mobile computing device function logic for the Apple iPad is written in Xcode for iOS4. A user, having the correct permissions, can access the web application for retrieval of one or more synchronization indexes and corresponding multimedia. Fifth, search logic 6 - 11 is present to facilitate search of a synchronization index or a collection of multiple synchronization indexes.
Once a user has used a mobile computing device to select a synchronization index, that synchronization index can be communicated to the device in whole and cached there, or it can be communicated to the device in part and subsequent portions of the synchronization index can be communicated to the mobile computing device as the user requires. Since many mobile computing devices have limited memory storage capacity and RAM, relative to laptop computers, desktop computers and servers, it may be advantageous to allocate certain tasks to that device best equipped to handle the task, while factoring in speed, efficiency, system resources and connectivity.
A search for text is one such task, and that is one reason for search logic. For example, if a user elects to retrieve the synchronization index for a single deposition having, say, a page length if printed, the mobile computing device may be able to download the entire synchronization index and store it in memory.
A text search of that deposition may reference the locally stored copy of the synchronization index and return a search result. The system may use multimedia with a synchronized text transcription thereof, or a synchronization index, on a mobile computing device for viewing and manipulating the multimedia, using the synchronized text transcription to navigate the multimedia and vice versa, optionally annotating the text transcription, and communicating to a computer other than the mobile computing device manipulations performed on the text or multimedia.
More generally, in some implementations, a system enables viewing and manipulating multimedia and text data. Specifically, multimedia and an associated synchronization index are communicated to a remote server. The remote server operates to re-format the synchronization index and communicate it to a mobile computing device. With the mobile computing device, its software, and the synchronization index, the user may then perform manipulations on the text and control the multimedia delivery to the mobile computing device, or to a separate receiving device. A user having performed manipulations to the synchronization index may then communicate those manipulations back to the remote server to allow subsequent users to retrieve the synchronization index for use with their own mobile computing devices, thereby realizing a collaborative working environment.
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More recently, stenograph machines and computer software programs have been developed which translate the phonetic characters while the stenograph operator is typing. The output of this automated translation is a stream of ASCII characters or text data that is stored on a disk, data card or other portable storage device , or in a personal computer attached directly to the stenograph machine by a serial communications link. These types of stenograph machines and the associated computer and software are referred to as Computer-Aided Transcription or CAT systems.
The court reporter edits the ASCII file to create a completed version of the transcript, which can be viewed on a computer or can be printed. Along with the development of CAT systems, video capture devices have advanced the art of making a record of testimony, most commonly employed as part of the deposition process.
The person performing the video recording is called a videographer. The videographer uses a standard, commercially available video capture device. Video recording proceeds simultaneously with the creation of the written record of the testimony by the court reporter. After the testimony is complete, the lawyer will normally ask the court reporter for a copy of the text data or ASCII text file of the testimony and will ask the videographer for a copy of the video data of the testimony. The video recording has historically been recorded to a tape media, which videotapes are commercially available in a number of sizes and formats.
The videographer typically later encodes the content into an electronic format with commercially available playback and encoding equipment. A common encoding format for the legal industry is MPEG-1, as MPEG-1 functions with substantial stability with commercially available trial presentation software applications.
A lawyer uses the ASCII file for many purposes including review and research of the deposition testimony, preparation for trial, and research prior to cross examination during trial. A variety of software tools have been developed which, among other things, allow a lawyer to electronically search testimony text for key words, to annotate, to insert page marks, to associate certain portions of testimony with issues and to create printouts of testimony for insertion in pleadings, submissions to the court, and trial presentations.
To understand some problems associated with transcript management, it is important to understand how a team of attorneys collaboratively works on a transcript. First, a team of attorneys reviews a transcript internally within the law firm or legal department. This internal review may be done by several attorneys, by a junior associate who has his work checked by a more senior attorney, by a paralegal, or in conjunction with the legal client or corporate representative who may have knowledge about the testimony or an interest in the litigation.
The purpose of the internal review is to determine what questions and answers may be useful either in upcoming depositions, during settlement negotiations, for use in legal briefs, or at trial. The term issue code refers generally to a range of words selected within a transcript and labeled to correspond to an issue within the litigation. The circumstance may exist after a deposition where a paralegal, or other professional, may be asked to review the transcript and to annotate it for the law firm partner who is preparing to depose another witness, say, an expert witness.
The paralegal does the review, and issue codes several parts of the transcript, say, in yellow. Before the deposition, the partner will come back to the transcript and read, as quickly and efficiently as possible, only those yellow sections. This process may occur for several issues, each of which may overlap and be a different color. The transcript itself can, if all issues are viewed simultaneously, become too busy to read, as overlapping colors bleed into one another, the number of colors become distracting as the numbers of issues increase, and so forth.
The goal of a legal team before trial is to piece together a coherent story using very discrete deposition designations, or video clips corresponding to deposition designations. These designations will support the credibility of legal briefs to the court, and such deponent testimony is frequently cited and footnoted accordingly.
At that point, the primary purpose of the transcript management utility is to select only the best material to use in court. Assume a deponent has died and cannot, obviously, testify on the witness stand. The attorneys will be able to show his video recorded deposition in court, pursuant to the rules of evidence. The law firm will pare down the deponent s testimony to the best segments possible, for example as a highlight reel, leaving out the testimony that would tend to undermine the coherent story that they are trying to tell in court.
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