February 11, 2008  ·  Lessig

As announced at public.resource.org, CC and public.resource.org have announced the first release of material to support our free law project. After raising a large chunk of change from great and generous sorts like David Boies, John Gilmore, the Omidyar Network and the Elbaz Foundation, we’ve purchased a database of a substantial part of all federal cases. Carl’s team has now made all the data available in a beautiful, xml format for developers to take and use however they want. The however they want part is what’s assured by the CCØ mark on all cases — no rights, including attribution rights, are asserted over these data at all. Free law available for anyone to build search engines, or collections, or whatever else they want.

This is just the first step in this joint venture that CC and public.resource.org have launched. Stay tuned for more public acts of manumission, soon. Thanks especially to Carl for making this happen, and the generous support of the funders for making this happen in a different sense.

  • Kenneth Berland


    Just whipped up a quick search engine for the Federal Reporter, Third Series. I used apache/tomcat/lucene. The query language allows use of “+” and “-” to require words. e.g., “+berland +stagg” returns the only document with occurrences of both berland and stagg. Similarly, “+berland -stagg” returns the rest, without the one.

  • Seth

    Wow, that was fast, very cool, Mr. Berland.

  • Kenneth Berland
  • http://www.timstanley.com Tim Stanley

    Thank you for starting the Legal Commons with Carl et al! Peace – Tim

  • http://www.lawmoose.com LaVern Pritchard

    Congratulations times three.

    P.S. Is anyone going to apply public domain cites for these cases?

  • http://opencontentlawyer.com Jordan Hatcher

    I thought CCZero was still in beta and was a draft for discussion and therefore not being used at the moment…

  • http://www.new-laptop-battery.com colin

    Thank you for starting the Legal Commons with Carl et al

  • http://www.universalpantograph.com sam hunting

    I would like to stress the importance, for free access to this material, of RESTful systems of online citation, such as that proposed by the AAAL and implemented by Precydent.

    Translated, this is a plea for the ability to “cite to” a web page using the URL, as in the following example from Precydent:

    1) The official vendor-based URL: http://www.precydent.com/decision.html?volume=158&reporter=F.3d&page=674
    2) The neutral citation-based URL: http://www.precydent.com/decision.html?year=1998&court=US App (2nd)&number=494

    If legal subject matter is exposed by a human readable URI, as above, and not hidden behind an incomprehensible, machine generated ID or, worse, hidden behind a search form, that makes it easier for humans to know where they are going before they click on the link, and makes it orders of magnitude easier to retrofit existing content with embedded citations to leverage these new open sources. (That is, it is a good deal easier, in an editorial context, to map 158 F.2d 674 to … ?volume=158&reporter=F.3d&page=674 than to …. 124123124.asp (to invent a random example).

    To underline, this is not a plea for a uniform system of online citation; only for a RESTful one.