Internet activist and founder of Public.Resource.org, Carl Malamud is launching a national campaign to free millions of court documents in PACER–Public Access to Court Electronic Records–the technologically backwards federal electronic system that charges Americans 10 cents per page to access court files in the public domain. This Friday, you can come by the Internet Archive “polling place” at 300 Funston Avenue., San Francisco from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to “cast your vote” for free court records. Carl will be on hand with inspiring postcards addressed to Chief Judge Thomas of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. By sending His Honor hundreds of handwritten postcards asking him to grant a PACER fee-exemption, we can save tax-payers millions of dollars, while freeing court documents crucial to understanding and interpreting the law.
This is just one prong in a multi-faceted campaign to free PACER. Carl outlines Friday’s strategy in a memorandum of law called, “Yo, Your Honor.” His request of us:
May 1 is Law Day, and I’m asking people to come in and write a brief postcard about why you think that access to PACER is important. More specifically, you’ll be writing a postcard to Chief Judge Thomas of the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in support of my request that the Court grant us free access to PACER for several courts in the Ninth Circuit. It would be a really big deal if the Court said yes, we’re trying to show public support in a way the judges can relate to.
Clerk of the Court
Attn: Docket 15-80056
United States Courts of Appeals
James Browning Courthouse
95 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
In 2008, Aaron Swartz downloaded millions of PACER documents, and worked with Malamud to make them accessible for free on the Internet Archive through the RECAP Project. This is just one more step toward providing everyone with free access to all knowledge–the great promise of the Internet and our mission at the Internet Archive.