Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

OA portal of US case law

Columbia Law School and the University of Colorado Law School have launched, an OA portal of US case law.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)  From Columbia’s August 23 press release: contains nearly 170,000 decisions dating back to the early 1990s from the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Appellate courts. The site’s creators, Columbia Law School’s Timothy Wu and Stuart Sierra, and University of Colorado Law School’s Paul Ohm, said the site’s database will grow over time.
Wu said he started to build because he wanted a way to quickly search through court decisions the same way that the public now can search a wide array of information through such Internet search engines as Google and Yahoo!
“It’s been more than 10 years since the start of the Internet revolution, and case law is one area that has not budged. Somebody has to take the initiative,” Wu said. “We want to open the law to the public.” ...
Ohm wrote the thousands of lines of code that download cases to from more than a dozen court websites each night. He said the data comes from the courts themselves, and is designed as an extremely open platform so that others can take the raw material and use it in various ways.
“This is what we call the ‘law commons’ part of the design,” Ohm said.  “The touchstone of is openness, and this means that not only will users be able to search cases, but they'll also be able to make copies of all of the cases in our database to reuse or remix in any way that they'd like.” ...