Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,
Readers may remember a previous Boing Boing post Did the US gov't sell exclusive access to its legislative history to Thomson West? Well, the answer is now a definitive yes, that data has been sold down the river and is out to sea.
Link to the Scribd group with the full paper trail on this issue
Public.Resource.Org sent in a FOIA request to GAO on this topic seeking access to the scanned data. Today's letter answering our FOIA request spells out the bad news. Turns out the GAO doesn't even get the data, they simply are given an account on Thomson's service. The rest of the government doesn't get access to this data, and the public is invited to stop by the GAO headquarters and pay 20 cents per page to copy paper.
This is one of those deals where the public domain got sold off ... GAO gets a bit of convenience by having their stuff scanned for them, but they gave up way more than they got in the deal, and the public (including government workers and public interest groups who need to consult this data) lost big-time.
Link to the today's letter
US court records are not copyrighted, but the US court system operates a paywall called “PACER” that is supposed to recoup the costs of serving text files on the internet; charging $0.10/page for access to the public domain, and illegally profiting to the tune of $80,000,000/year.
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