Why can't Americans look up their own case-law for free?

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez:

Here's a recent talk given by Princeton's Steve Schultze where he argued for the right of all Americans to access federal court records online at no charge. He made these remarks not only because it is fundamental to a democracy that the people know what their government is doing, but because his friend Aaron Swartz was improperly persecuted by the government for his efforts to ensure that all Americans can exercise this right.

As Steve explains, all federal court records are available online — behind a paywall, on court-run PACER — that unlawfully overcharges the public for access and subverts the reason and rationale for its existence. Court records should be free for the public to access.

He is looking for Congress to act by considering this legislation, which provides for free and open access to court records. He is looking for bill sponsors, and asks that you call your elected representatives.

Steve gave this talk as part of a series of 3-minute lightning talks on transparency hosted on Capitol Hill on Monday by the Advisory Committee on Transparency, a project of the Sunlight Foundation that brings together organizations from across the political spectrum that believe in a more open government.

If you like this video, please share it. Call your member of Congress. And visit openpacer.org.

Open Public Access to Court Records, For Aaron #FreePACER #OpenPacer

(Thanks, Nicko!)