Carver and Lissner: Free Law Project

Free Law Project has been launched by Professor Dr. Brian Carver of the University of California, Berkeley, and Michael Lissner, MIMS, of CourtListener.

They have a new post about the project: Non-Profit “Free Law Project” Formed to Create an Open Legal Ecosystem.

The project is on Twitter at @FreeLawProject

Here is the description:

Free Law Project is a California non-profit public benefit corporation whose specific purposes are primarily:

  • to provide free, public, and permanent access to primary legal materials on the Internet for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes to the benefit of the general public and the public interest;
  • to develop, implement, and provide public access to technologies useful for legal research;
  • to create an open ecosystem for legal research and materials;
  • to support academic research on related technologies, corpora, and legal systems; and
  • to carry on other charitable activities associated with these purposes, including, but not limited to, publications, meetings, conferences, trainings, educational seminars, and the issuance of grants and other financial support to educational institutions, foundations, and other organizations exclusively for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes as allowed by law.

Free Law Project is pursuing recognition as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Current activities of Free Law Project are as follows:

We seek to collect and freely distribute online all United States court opinions, both state and federal, both historical and current. Our collection of current opinions is accomplished through our Juriscraper project. Online distribution of the opinions occurs through our CourtListener project.

We develop technologies for use in legal research, such as a daily alerting service, advanced search capabilities, and a citator. These tools are deployed at CourtListener.

We collaborate with others with similar goals and license all the software we develop under free software licenses. Source code is available for both Juriscraper and CourtListener.

We support academic research on search technologies and provide free bulk downloads of our entire corpus for use in academic research or for any other purpose.

We lead workshops, present at conferences, and hold other events to educate others about our work, how to get involved, and the underlying challenges facing the free acces to law movement.

The Co-Founders of Free Law Project:

Michael Lissner is a co-founder of Free Law Project and lead developer of its software projects, CourtListener and Juriscraper. He graduated from UC Berkeley’s School of Information and is passionate about bringing greater access to primary legal materials, about how technology can replace old legal models, and about open source, community-driven approaches to legal research.

Brian W. Carver is a co-founder of Free Law Project and Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information where he does research on and teaches about intellectual property law and cyberlaw. He is also passionate about the public’s access to the law. In 2009 and 2010 he advised Michael Lissner on the creation of CourtListener. After Michael’s graduation he and Brian continued working on the site and have grown the database of opinions to include over 900,000 documents. In 2011 and 2012, Brian advised I School Masters students Rowyn McDonald and Karen Rustad on the creation of a legal citator built on the CourtListener database. During 2012 and 2013 he collaborated with computer scientists at UC Santa Cruz on the enhancement of the search capabilities of CourtListener. […]

For more details, please see the post and the project’s Website.

HT @FreeLawProject

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