Last night Lawrence Lessig spoke at Dartmouth College about Rebooting our Government. I’ve read Lessig’s articles and listened to his lectures before, and seeing him speak in person was quite a treat.
Lessig’s lecture highlighted his mission to give control of our government back to the people — to the citizens of the US. Fix Congress First is one of the groups encouraging this reform, and I suggest that you go check out their website right now!
Part of giving the Citizenry control is making sure that everyone has free, open access to all of our laws and court case records. Federal court records are in the public domain and are available online through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) electronic record system, however access to the PACER system is billed using a per-page rate.
Because the documents in PACER are public domain, once a document is accessed, it may be distributed without restriction or additional fee. As a result, several groups are currently working on opening the vast archive of documents in PACER so that anyone can access any of them, at any time, with no fees or strings attached.