PACER gets some help from Firefox and CITP

The Princeton Center for Information for Technology Policy has come up with a Firefox extention to bring PACER documents to the public for free. The Firefox extention is called RECAP.
RECAP replicates PACER content and uploads it to a mirror site hosted by the Internet Archive. Of course, unlike the PACER site, the RECAP material will be available for free to the public. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts, and the GPO, charge the public eight cents a page for PACER documents. This fee is needed to fund ongoing maintenance of the system, personnel costs, and support needed bandwidth. There are arguments in support and against this fee, but even if the fee is necessary to fund PACER, crowdsourcing the documents makes perfect sense. It does not interfere with the doucment system created by the Administrative Office, and actually helps them make their public information available to the public. Assuming of course, that they consider this their mandate.
You might remember that Carl Malamud of attempted to create a “mirror site” site of sorts last year, but was shut down by the Office of Court Administration.

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House Votes Name Change: Law Library of Congress to Become the National Law Library

The House has voted overwhelmingly in favor on a bill that would rename the Law Library of Congress as the National Law Library. The bill also establishes the William Orton Law Library Support Program, which allows the Library to accept donations in partnership with other organizations. Any money received is in addition to regular budgeted funds from Congress, and not meant to supplant appropriations to run the Library. The Librarian of Congress is directed to separate out the Law Libraries expenses and salaries as a line item in preparing budget requests. Is the National Law Library on the road to becoming its own agency? The bill is the William Orton Law Library Improvement and Modernization Act, H.R. 2728. It is now pending in the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.