[NOTE: Updated on 10 November 2010 to link to Professor Bruce's post entitled More West: What Legal Information Business Should The Government Be Out Of?. Updated on 8 November 2009 to link to Professor Bruce's post entitled The West Video and the Free Market. Updated on 4 November 2009 to link to Professor Berring's Nov. 3 reply, on sLaw.]
An interesting debate over free access to law is now occurring in the legal blogosphere.
Thomson Reuters, owners of West Publishing, a major U.S. legal publisher, and the Westlaw computer assisted legal research (CALR) service, recently published video comments about the free access to law movement by Professor Robert Berring of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, and a well respected expert on legal research. In the video Professor Berring praises the free access to law movement for increasing competition in the CALR market and compelling Westlaw and its main rival in the U.S. market, Lexis.com, to innovate. Yet Professor Berring also criticizes the free access to law movement as fleeting, and as providing insufficient metadata to enable high quality legal research.
This week Professor Daniel Poulin, Director of CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute, responded to Professor Berring’s comments, on the sLaw blog, and yesterday Professor Tom Bruce, Director of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, published his response on his B-Screeds blog.
On November 3, Professor Berring posted a reply, on sLaw.
Those interested in digital legal information or public access to legal information may find this debate particularly informative and timely.
HT @caminick for tweeting Prof. Poulin’s post.