California Watch, part of the Center for Investigative Reporting, has a post this week about the relative costs and revenue of PACER. We’ve talked about the problems with PACER fees and the impediments to access before, and it is certainly a familiar topic to those of us in the free law community, but it hasn’t gotten much attention outside of that.
It seems the California Watch found this information by doing some digging on PACER fees after it was denied a limited exemption based on its status as a nonprofit organization. Academics and nonprofits are typically awarded a waiver of fees “to promote public access to information.” CIR was originally granted an exemption, but then it was revoked, allegedly on the grounds that CIR is a media organization. According to the post, CIR is appealing the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.