Party seeking to prove the content of a writing must either (1) produce the original document OR (2) account for the absence of the original. If absence accounted for, then either a copy or oral testimony may be admitted to prove the content of the original.
Application: legally operative documents (deeds, divorce decree, written contract) and when witness' sole knowledge comes from a document (also: witness has no personal knowledge).
- NOTE: Facts having existence independent of a writing.
- >> If witness has personal knowledge of a fact that also happens to be in a writing, no need to produce writing.
ALSO: Best evidence rule ≠ apply to writings of minor
importance (collateral documents).