This week we sit down with Carl Malamud, who with the group Public.Resource.org is pushing to put law in the public domain.
We covered the issue of copyright on law a few months ago in Radio Berkman 129 where Steve Schultze introduced us to RECAP – a software that helps legal researchers bypass hefty fees for access to legal documents.
There is now a movement afoot, not just to bypass the system that puts law behind a paywall, but to remove it altogether.
If you think this is a small issue – note that Americans spend some $10 billion a year just to access legal documents, everything from local building codes to Supreme Court records. The Executive Branch alone pays $50 million to access district court records. Some cash-strapped law schools ration students’ access to per-page charging services for legal records. And journalists, non-profits, and average citizens interested in legal research are feeling just as nickeled-and-dimed by fees.
David Weinberger and Carl Malamud sat down to talk about the chances for freeing the written word of the law.