(a) A county may provide for the reproduction, by photocopy, photograph, microphotograph, or any other method of reproduction that gives legible and permanent copies, of instruments, documents, and other papers filed with the register of deeds and of any other county records. The county shall keep each reproduction of an instrument, document, paper, or other record in a fire-resistant file, vault, or similar container. If a duplicate reproduction is made to provide a security-copy, the county shall keep the duplicate in a fire-resistant file, vault, or similar container separate from that housing the principal reproduction.
If a county has provided for reproducing records, any custodian of public records of the county may cause to be reproduced any of the records under, or coming under, his custody.
(b) If a county has provided for reproducing some or all county records, the custodian of any instrument, document, paper, or other record may permit it to be removed from its regular repository for up to 24 hours in order to be reproduced. An instrument, document, paper or other record may be removed from the county in order to be reproduced. The board of commissioners may permit an instrument, document, paper, or other record to be removed for longer than 24 hours if a longer period is necessary to complete the process of reproduction.
(c) The original of any instrument, document, or other paper received by the register of deeds and reproduced pursuant to this Article shall be filed, maintained, and disposed of in accordance with G.S. 161-17 and G.S. 121-5. The original of any other county record that is reproduced pursuant to this Article may be kept by the county or disposed of pursuant to G.S. 121-5.
(d) If an instrument, document, or other paper received by the register of deeds is reproduced pursuant to this Article, the recording of the reproduction is a sufficient recording for all purposes.
(e) A reproduction, made pursuant to this Article, of an instrument, document, paper, or other record is as admissible in evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding as the original itself, whether the original is extant or not. An enlargement or other facsimile of the reproduction is also admissible in evidence if the original reproduction is extant and available for inspection under the direction of the court or administrative agency.
(f) The provisions of this section shall apply to records stored on any form of permanent, computer-readable media, such as a CD-ROM, if the medium is not subject to erasure or alteration. Nonerasable, computer-readable storage media may be used for preservation duplicates, as defined in G.S. 132-8.2, or for the preservation of permanently valuable records as provided in G.S. 121-5(d). (1945, c. 286, ss. 1-7; c. 944; 1951, c. 19, ss. 1-6; 1953, c. 675, ss. 23, 24; 1957, c. 330, s. 3; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1999-131, s. 4; 1999-456, s. 47(d); 2011-326, s. 13(d).)
Last modified: March 23, 2014