Great news, friends! Starting in 2011, Public.Resource.Org will release a Report of Current Opinions (RECOP) on a weekly basis. The Report will include a FREE HTML feed of ALL slip and final opinions from the appellate courts of the 50 states and the federal government. The feed will be available for reuse under a CC CC-Zero license, and will include page numbers. For more details, read Carl Malamud’s announcement on O’Reilly Radar. This is one of the major projects that Public.Resource.Org has undertaken since being awarded the Google 10^100 Grant in September.
While contributing this expansive body of case law to the public domain represents a great victory for advocates of free law, more needs to be done. First, RECOP is a temporary measure. Public.Resource.Org has committed to a two-year sunset for RECOP because of the ongoing monthly fees to put up new decisions online. Secondly, the ultimate goal of law.gov is for federal and state governments to self-publish this information. We hope that they will recognize the impact that RECOP has on democratizing the law and educating their citizens, and take immediate steps to take this on themselves.
Lawyer, programmers, lawmakers, muckrakers, bloggers, librarians and open government advocates–we need your help NOW to make the law.gov goals a reality. We’ve got two years to get the government to step up and take ownership of access to the law.
To summarize: the public will now have a place to obtain current, official opinions. Case law is being freed from the paywall. Onward!