The Internet Archive Offers to Host PACER Data and Make it All Available For Free
UPDATED: Prepared Testimony of Professor Thomas Bruce, Director, Cornell Legal Information Institute and Others at Feb. 14, 2017 U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee.
UPDATED: Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard U. Law Library) Statement for the Record on Access to Legal Information (via Et. Seq/Harvard Law Library Blog)
Back in 2010, the Internet Archive launched RECAP (“PACER” in reverse) in collaboration with Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. Through RECAP, anyone can upload PACER documents they’ve purchased and make them available to others for free. “We hope that the government will eventually put all of these documents in an open archive, but until then this repository will grow with use,” said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle at the time. Today the repository holds around 1.5 million documents.
The U.S. Congress is scheduled to kick off a series of hearings today that explore how the PACER database is operated — and the Internet Archive has issued an open letter that includes an offer to become the official host of PACER data to “…make the works of our federal courts more readily available, to inform the citizenry, and to further the effective and fair administration of justice,” according to a blog poston the matter.
“By this submission, the Internet Archive would like to clearly state to the Judiciary Committee, as well as to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Judicial Conference of the United States, that we would be delighted to archive and host — for free, forever, and without restriction on access to the public — all records contained in PACER,” says Kahle, in the letter.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.