[NOTE: Updated on 29 September 2009 to link to the video of Stephen Schultze's presentation.]
Stephen Schultze, of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, will present Crowdsourcing Federal Court Transparency (video available here, HT Connie Crosby) on September 8, 2009, at the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase, to be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC. Here is the abstract:
“Until now, the conversation about government 2.0 has focused almost exclusively on just two of the three branches of government: the executive and legislative. Our project, called RECAP, takes this movement to the third branch—the judiciary. Today, government puts federal court records online in a system called PACER: Public Access to Electronic Court Records. Created by the courts in the late 1980s, the system was ahead of the curve when it first appeared. But today, PACER is a relic of an earlier era. It keeps documents behind a pay-wall, offering users metered access at eight cents per ‘page’ (effectively, per screenful). This pay-to-play model severely hinders widespread access to the law by activists, academics, the media and other concerned citizens with an interest in the judicial process. Fortunately, these public documents are not eligible for copyright, so once a document has been retrieved from PACER, it may be freely shared and reproduced. RECAP enables citizens to easily share federal court documents. The goal of this project, over time, is to publish an extensive archive to the public for free (as in beer). This will not only help people who are interested in a particular case, but will also pave the way for others to build more and better tools.
“In our talk, we plan discuss both the technical workings of RECAP, as well as the policy implications of our project. In particular, we will report on the current status of our collection, legal issues we have encountered and the larger policy context for our work.”
Tags: Access to court decisions, Access to court records, Access to electronic court decisions, Access to electronic court records, Access to electronic government information, Access to government information, Court decisions, Court records, Crowdsourcing and law, Crowdsourcing and legal information, e-government, egovernment, Electronic court decisions, Electronic court records, Free access to law, Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase, PACER, RECAP