Search Results for: public domain citation

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A hat tip to our friend Ed Walters over at FastCase who alerted us to the news that Colorado has proposed adopting a public domain citation format for its Supreme Court and Court of Appeals published opinions. (Yay!)  By our count, this means there will now be seventeen states using some form of universal / vendor neutral citation for their court opinions.

A link to the proposal (in PDF) is here.  Public comments are welcome on the proposed changes but must be in by December 12, 2011.


Posted in: Legal Research

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Illinois announced that it will adopt a vendor-neutral citation system. According to the press release, the official citation of Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court opinions will change to a public-domain numbering and paragraph scheme.

Concurrently, the Illinois Supreme Court will also be discontinuing official printed volumes for Illinois state case law. “The official body of Illinois court opinions will now reside on the website of the Illinois Supreme Court, readily available  to lawyers, judges and law clerks for official citation and to any member of the public who wishes to read them.” This will save private lawyers as well as the court system quite a fair amount of money now that judges, law libraries and law firms will no longer have to purchase and store hundreds of printed volumes. For those concerned about authentication issues surrounding online case law, this should quiet your fears since the opinions will come directly from the courts themselves.


Posted in: Legal Research

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I was researching case law on state court websites recently and surveying what’s out there and who’s publishing what, when I encountered something totally surprising: public domain citation formats. I thought I was pretty up-to-date on free law and access to public information, but I had never heard of this. I turned to my colleague Cicely, the Citation Geek, and asked her if she had heard of it. She was surprised, too.

It turns out that starting in 1996, state courts began creating their own citation systems, adding paragraph numbers to their opinions, and requiring citation to these opinions in their rules.  The formats are called by various names: vendor neutral, universal, media neutral, and public domain. The citations are “vendor neutral” because they do not cite to a commercial reporter. They are “media neutral” because they can be used to cite electronic material (electronic access to public information was just ramping up in the late 90’s). They are “universal” and “public domain” because you do not need to rely on commercial publishers to get the official citation.


Posted in: Legal Research

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As readers of this blog, you probably already know that we at Justia are big fans of universal citation. With that said, I wanted to give you all a heads up that Courtney, in continuing to fight that good fight, has written a great piece on the topic which is now up  on Cornell’s VoxPopuLII blog. In it, she generally discusses media neutral citation and more specifically provides details of the work we’ve been doing here in applying universal citation to Justia’s corpus of state codes.  Head on over and check it out!

Additional Links & Resources

UniversalCitation.org – current movement to provide the organizational infrastructure needed to facilitate the adoption and use of a uniform set of media and vendor neutral citations that can be used for all American court decisions.  This site also has links to lots of great resources on the history and work that’s been done in the field so far.


Posted in: Legal Research

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Hi Friends,

Here is a great new free case law project that came out (or at least I was made aware of 🙂 a few weeks ago. AltLaw.

Right now AltLaw is focused on getting up the Federal appellate opinions online (US Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Courts). They have aggregated opinions for the last 15 years or so (depending on the court), and have done good job presenting the cases in formated text, in addition to providing the original pdf and in a text only format. It looks like these are the slip opinions, but they can be later fixed up to match the text of the official published opinions.


Posted in: Legal Research

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Open DataJosh Tauberer recently announced the release of “Open Government Data: Best Practices Language for Making Data ‘License Free.’ That document sets forth recommendations for federal agencies issuing data, and sample Creative Commons Zero (public domain) licensing statements.

In the memorandum, Mr. Tauberer and his colleagues discuss how open licensing protocols can be applied by various federal government authors—agencies in house, through contractors, or a mix—to different outputs, such as codes, laws, reports, etc. The overriding principle is that because the federal government’s material is not subject to copyright protection, a CC0 license will make it clear to users that the government disclaims its copyright.

When contractors are involved, things get a little more complicated: “Works produced under a contract with the government may be subject to copyright protection. Any such contract should specify that any copyright in the work is transferred to the government.” Transferring the copyright to the government, of course, obviates it, as federal government works are not subject to copyright protection under the Copyright Act. For mixes of government and non-government works, they recommend that “non-governmental contributors be required to waive copyright protection to their submissions,” which is another way of bringing taxpayer funded government work product into the public domain. This shouldn’t be a controversial proposition, but we’ve seen what happens when private standards are incorporated by reference into law.


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It’s that special time of year, Justia friends, when we look back and share with you the most popular Onward blog posts of 2011.

Here they are:


Posted in: Justia News

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Here is a rundown of July’s highest scoring lawyers on Justia Legal Answers, along with a look at which Onward blog and Facebook posts readers viewed the most.

Justia Legal Answers’ Top 10 Legal Answerers for July 2011

  1. Mark A. Siesel, 11,600 points, 232 answers
  2. Burton A. Padove, 10,195 points, 215 answers
  3. Terrence Rubino, 2,805 oints, 72 answers
  4. Robert Neal Katz, 1,545 points, 33 answers
  5. David Philip Shapiro, 1,020 points,22 answers
  6. Cedulie Renee Laumann, 850 points, 17 answers
  7. Andrew Bresalier, 650 points, 13 answers
  8. Stephen J. Plog, 552 points, 11 answers
  9. Gojko Kasich, 510 points, 13 answers
  10. Christopher Gilreath, 500 points, 10 answers


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Here is a rundown of June’s highest scoring lawyers on Justia Legal Answers, along with a look at which Onward blog and Facebook posts readers viewed the most.

Justia Legal Answers’ Top 10 Legal Answerers for June 2011

  1. Albert Pettigrew Jr, 1,300 points, 26 answers
  2. J. Richard Kulerski Esq., 830 points, 17 answers
  3. Mr. Andrew T. Bodoh Esq., 550 oints, 11 answers
  4. Cedulie Renee Laumann, 550 points, 11 answers
  5. Robert James Reynolds, 530 points, 11 answers
  6. Nicholas Leydorf, 450 points, 9 answers
  7. Andrew Bresalier, 350 points, 7 answers
  8. Matthew Lee Spiegel, 330 points, 7 answers
  9. Cynthia Jean Nelson, 300 points, 7 answers
  10. Craig Orent, 300 points, 6 answers


Posted in: Justia News, Legal News

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Happy New Year to all our Justia friends!

As Courtney wrote in her year-end review, one of the big trends of 2010 was the emergence of social media and its integration into the work of legal professionals. While I’m sure many of our readers may already have a blog, a Facebook page, LinkedIn Profile or Twitter account (to name but a few of these types of tools and platforms), many folks may still feel a bit unsure how this all works. For that latter group, we’re going to post articles on Onward throughout the year that provide basic social media “how-tos” and resource links to help you get started. This post is going to focus on Twitter and also briefly cover Justia’s Twitter community Legal Birds – a place we hope that those of you who are already in the social media mix might join up and participate in.