An Internet gadfly has embarked on an ambitious project to make more than 10 million pages of case law available free online, going head-to-head with LexisNexis and Westlaw.
In a site that just went live, Carl Malamud – who has already taken on the SEC and the Smithsonian – has begun publishing the full text of legal opinions starting back in 1880 and outlined a process that will eventually lead to a full database of US Case law. Carl explains that the short-term goal is the creation of an unencumbered full-text repository of the Federal Reporter, the Federal Supplement, and the Federal Appendix, while the medium-term goal is the creation of an unencumbered full-text repository of all state and federal cases and codes. This is clearly public data, according to a letter Carl wrote to West Publishing that accompanies the first data release on his site. Whether West agrees is yet to be seen. More from the New York Times and the O’Reilly Radar.