Conversations about how the Internet can be used to increase the openness and accountability of government usually focuses on the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government. But on this week’s episode of Technology Policy Weekly, I hosted a discussion of the equally vital issue of public access to court records, joined by:
- The TLF’s own Tim Lee, who’s written about the problems with PACER , the arcane and expensive system by which court documents are currently made publicly available—with a separate system for each of the 100+ Federal courts!
- James Grimmelmann of New York Law School, who wrote Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer.
- Steve Schultze, of Harvard’s Berkman Center, who’s been writing about these issues on his own blog, especially about Sen. Lieberman’s recent laudable efforts. Also check out a talk he gave recently on “Selling the Law: The Business of Public Access to Court Records.”
We discussed a wide range of issues, including:
- Why lay people should care—this is ultimately about reducing the legal profession’s monopoly over access to the courts!
- The philosophical reasons why better access to court records is important – little things like democracy, fairness, consistency, equality, the rule of law, etc.
- The copyrightability of legal records
- The history of the problem & what can be done about it
There are several ways to listen to the TLF Podcast. You can press play on the player below to listen right now, or download the MP3 file. You can also subscribe to the podcast by clicking on the button for your preferred service. And do us a favor, Digg this podcast!