Federal Courts Making It More Expensive To Access Records, Even As They're Swimming In Cash

from the the-public-domain-is-expensive dept

The Federal Court's PACER system is really quite misguided. It's the system that the federal courts use to distribute judicial records (court filings, rulings, etc.), but rather than making that info available to the public, it's basically locked up behind a paywall, and it costs people 8 cents per page to download documents. Well, it did cost 8 cents per page. They've just announced that they're jacking up the fees to 10 cents per page, and that can add up pretty quickly when accessing a lot of court documents or some rather long filings or rulings.

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Another ill thought out definition

' but rather than making that info available to the public, it's basically locked up behind a paywall'

So it IS available to the public. The point is that it is not free. It IS available to the public.
Noone said access has to be free.

Cost recovery

These court records are public information and belong to the people. To charge a fee to recover cost incurred by making the records available would be one thing. But raising the cost when the system is already not only recovering cost but making substantial money is uncalled for.

Anything beyond cost recovery is an additional tax. Attorneys that use the system pass on the cost to their clients. Citizens that need to access the records are taxed when they use it. PACER charges by the page. When you pull up a brief it may be dozens of pages so the cost of using the system can add up quickly.

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