Hi,
Just had a crappy job where one attorney (out of 5) wanted a dirty ASCII. When I asked the other attorneys if they would like one, the ordering attorney said she would just email her copy to everybody. This pissed me off on more than one level. What do you think? Hope this doesn't start a trend, since 14 of my last 20 jobs had dirty ASCIIs ordered. Does anyone know how to get around people just emailing our work and getting out of paying for the rough (and the copy)? Also, are we reallllly charging enough for a rough? Like some reporters, I also think this is a cheap way to almost get an expedite, and it is not worth the buck or so a page to drop everything to get these out. Please let me know your thoughts...

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Hi Judy,

Who decided this? courts?
thanks
I had a discussion with the CA CSR board a few years back about this issue. I had to go back and find my notes (and I actually have them, can you believe that?) Here's what I have written down:

1) Charge for copy - "whatever the market will bear." The transcript reimbursement fund is 3.50 for an O&1, 2.50 for San Fran; average page rates she told me were 3.50 Fresno, 4.00, 4.10, 4.60, that's with an hourly per diem; 5.50 for Los Angeles.

2) Impartiality - does not concern CODs, can charge COD. Impartiality deals with delivery, notification, get at same time, confidential, notify parties.

3) Nothing to protect me, no rule re watermark. Right to protect work product, watermark/security paper okay.

4) Transcript is work product.

Then I have Gvt. Code 69954(d) -- but I'm not sure if that applies to #4.

5) Can't refuse to sell copy - CCP 2025(k)

6) Not much except to do what I did. No code that says can't be distributed.

7) Up to me (small claims)

8) Messenger service - no fault - board would not get involved.

9) Only thing required the same = rough draft, realtime.

Why I had to contact them and get the opinion is the one situation (I've told the story ad nauseum) re my O&4 turning into an O&2. In retaliation I put a watermark on each transcript (property of... or original), used no-copy paper (when they copied it, they got a narly watermark that said "Unauthorized Copy").

The comment about the messenger service is probably not that significant, but it had to do with somebody requested their product via messenger. Copy counsel causing a stink basically wanted to have me beheaded for not offering a messenger service to her. I think that also deals with #9.

#6 & #7 I believe had to do with what could I do if they were stealing my work product. She had no answer except small claims court.

So, yes, it's our work product (at least in CA), but there's something rattling around in the back of my brain that says I've heard somewhere that it's not copyrightable.
RIDICULOUS!!!
Attorneys are something else. I understand when they are being nice, and saving money; but when it comes to "taking food" out of someone elses mouth, that draws the line. I'm just a scopist, want-to-be reporter but I learn a lot from reading the input you guys write on this site.

I'm not 100% sure, but I used to work for (many moons ago) a paper manufacturing company that (if I'm not mistaken) produced a special kind of paper that when copied, the copy would either be blank or blacked out - not sure which. Anywho, if the cost of this paper is not that exhorbitant or makes it financially feasible, I would suggest you all use this type of paper when you are distributing hard copy transcripts (rough or final). The other suggestion is perhaps purchasing an encryption software similar to the CD/DVD distribution companies that block transferring of info from discs.

If anyone would like to join me in researching these possible options, it would not only be appreciated, but it would save us all a lot of headache in the long run.

Monti - since you are the "CSR GURU", and computer afficionado, let us know if you are hip to any of this.
Before I e-mail the rough ASCII I send an email asking each attorney to reply to confirm that they still want the rough. I tell them the cost of same and say they will receive it immediately on my receipt of their acknowledgement (in writing) that they're going to pay for it.

That way if they reply and say that X is looking after the cost for them, or thanks but they'll get a copy from X, I can deal with the situation immediately and confirm with the other attorney that they will cover both costs, before sending anything out.

It only takes an extra few minutes but could save lots of time in the long run. Hope this helps :)
Michelle,
What a great idea. You right; you have it all in writing!

Thanks,
Tricia
OMG!!

I just googled "encrypted photocopy paper" and viola!!! Here are a couple of links that will hopefully save us a lot of headache.

http://www.highsecuritypaper.com/applications1.html
http://www.mcgpaper.com/copysecure.html

From what I visually scanned on this site, the paper is not pricey and its paper can be encryped to blackout stuff, copy with illegible print, or the print can fade out over a period of time. Anywho sounds fabulous.

I will continue to do some research on the data encryption.
Indrani,

I've used that paper before. My only suggestion is not to buy too big of a stash of that paper. Why? Because once you use it, you're not going to get a single second's rest from the attorneys until you do right by them. Believe me, great idea, but not a feasible use for court reporters.
Here is an idea,

why not include a users agreement with the transcripts, maybe in the email or something?
Not sure if agencies will like this but it would be something to maybe consider.
one thing law firms understand is User agreements, this in my opinion is a big deterrent for any attorney that is thinking about sending the transcripts to other parties.

"1. Intellectual Property and Privacy Laws.
You acknowledge that the transcripts provided to you is the property of "name of reporter" and is protected by copyright and possibly other intellectual property laws. Furthermore, you acknowledge that trademarks and copyrights of the transcripts are subject to protection by intellectual property laws and that you must obtain consent from the owners of the intellectual property when necessary to comply with intellectual property laws. Absent an explicit written statement from "name of reporter" stating otherwise, you should assume that no consent from persons or owners of property has been given regarding any transcripts.

2. Permitted Uses. You may:
*help on this one?
*basically you and only you can use it.
*anyone in your firm also has the right to use it at anytime
etc..

3. No resale or sublicensing.
You may not resell, distribute or sublicense the files, accompanying material, or the rights to use the files to anyone for any purpose, except as specifically provided for in this agreement. "
Hi, Monti. For your consideration, here are some sites where attys can track down and purchase transcripts online from sources other than court reporters. Trust me -- any and all attempts to retain our ability to make money from copy sales is greatly appreciated. But even NCRA warned just a few years ago that we were going to see radical changes in the way we charge for what we do, and the copy sale was one of those changes.

HERE is the link to the site that lists the following information:
http://www.ncstl.org/education/Digging%20Up%20Dirt%20for%20Experts

Experts often do not realize that their prior testimony may be available for review by the opposing party in a future case. This can be useful for impeachment purposes and to track trends, such as an expert's tendency to testify for a certain law firm.

Atkinson Baker Court Reporters (www.depo.com) has over 100,000 deposition transcripts archived. The service will not search for past testimony from specific experts, but it will provide archived transcripts if the case is known by the researcher.

The Defense Research Institute (www.dri.org), a membership association concerned with the defense of civil actions, provides archived depositions for its members.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) (www.atla.org) provides more than 22,000 archived depositions.

An information-sharing network of defense firms, corporations, and government entities called Idex (www.idex.com) allows defense attorneys to access deposition transcripts. The Idex site contains a database of over 800,000 records of expert involvement and full text copies of an expert's testimony. Fee based.

Plaintiff attorneys have created TRIALSmith (www.depoconnect.com), which contains 175,000 deposition transcripts. Partner associations include 48 state trial organizations (all states and the District of Columbia, except Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota). Briefs, pleadings, verdicts, settlements, and other information are also available on the site. Generally, a fee-based subscription is required.

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Depositions and Testimony Database (www.malpracticedepositions.com)

Also, there is CrossExam.com: http://www.crossexam.com/

Last, although these articles are somewhat dated, the information sharing and abilities of the Internet continue to get more powerful, and there's no end to the number of people who are quite willing to offer advice on sharing information, including transcripts:

Law Firm Collaboration article HERE: http://www.llrx.com/features/lextranet.htm

Expert Deposition Transcripts Online HERE: http://www.daubertontheweb.com/2004/11/expert-deposition-transcript...

I agree with Judy about the no-copy paper. Once the transcript is out, copy-sharing is common for many attys and law firms. Even more reason to find a way to ensure the reporter is paid for their copy sales ... and I'm speaking more about from the reporting agency to the reporter. It's bad enough when law firms fund the litigation costs of their opponents. Look at how many court reporting agencies are offering free rough drafts and free realtime just to attract business, or to "compete" with one another. Ouch.

M.A.
Hello again Marry Ann,
thank you so much for your post, what an eye opener!
The sites you have provided charge a premium (up to $899 a year in some cases) to give you access to these transcripts that THEY do not own.
If they gave it away for free, they can argue that it is public domain, but they dont.

What If I start selling your transcripts on CSRnation tomorrow, how would you guys take it? I am sure it would really anger you.. you should be as angry about these sites profiting on YOUR hard work.. NCRA should lead the way by asking these sites to immediately take down all transcripts or get ready to get sued.

PLEASE remember, I am not an attorney and know a fraction of what you all know about reporting.

I am just saying, i would be really angry if I saw people selling my transcripts.



Crossexam.com sells a 175 page transcript for 520 bucks.. I wounder if the poor reporter and scopist that worked on it get a single penny from this sale.. what a bunch of thiefs if you ask me.

I wanted to respond to the posts regarding encrypted paper. For those of us in Texas, we're prohibited from using it. That makes absolutely no sense to me why they would do that, except for ill intentions. Maybe someone can educate me as to the importance of not allowing Texas CSRs to protect their work in that way. If there are no restrictions in other states, I recommend using that paper. At least it's some form of protection, right?
Hi, Jennifer. As far as the encrypted paper goes, I used it many years ago. It was so expensive ... about $35 a ream at the time ... that I put one sheet every 5-6 pages, and on the condensed also. But these days, when "going green" is a big plus for many firms, and some reporting agencies are using that as a draw for new business, there IS no paper. One thing about "going green" is letting the client print their own transcripts if they want, in the form they want, as many copies as they want ... and send them to whoever they want.

Jennifer, one would THINK that no-copy paper is a form of protection, as you said, but it only "protects" the hard copy. Using the computer for our work, and the wonders of the Internet allow for a free flow of information ... "free," as in unencumbered, and also "free" as in free, no cost. Plus, the unintended consequences are losing the client altogether if they think their effectiveness is being hampered by some silly court stenographer who's overpaid to begin with. (Their thoughts, not mine.)

I think it's better to find ways to compensate the reporter appropriately for the work in the first place. But that's not going to happen as long as reporting agencies continue to make deals trading high volume for cheap rates.

M.A.

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