Public.Resource.Org is very pleased to announce that we're going to be working with a distinguished group of colleagues from across the country to create a solid business plan, technical specs, and enabling legislation for the federal government to create Law.Gov. We envision Law.Gov as a distributed, open source, authenticated registry and repository of all primary legal materials in the United States.
Larry Lessig had a dream. In this dream, he was standing on K Street, preaching in the dark. Suddenly, a naked posse on Segways went whizzing by, shining their flashlights in people’s faces. Bystanders were all blinded by these random lights and lost their night vision. When Larry turned around, the naked posse was racing towards the White House for an open government rally, trailed by a screaming mob of marijuana-smoking birthers. Larry Lessig wrote up his dream in a cover article for the New Republic entitled “Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.” I suspect that this article will cause some angst inside the Beltway, where you’re either with us or against us. But, before the posse turns into a lynch mob, it is important to give the article a careful read.
When the White House retweets Cory Doctorow, you know something unusual has happened. As many of you saw, the Office of the Federal Register announced that source code for the Federal Register is now available in bulk – for free – and has been converted to XML. Ed Felten’s shop at Princeton created a site called fedthread.org to see what you can do with the data and Public.Resource.Org helped the Government Printing Office in testing early stages of the XML work.
Law librarians from Georgetown and Stanford Law Schools are getting ready to deliver a petition from several hundred law libraries to the Administrative Office of the Courts, the group that administers the federal judiciary’s PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system. If you have a few minutes, look over the petition and if you agree with it, I’m sure the organizers will appreciate your support. The petition asks for some pretty reasonable things from the federal judiciary: signatures on documents, copies of the dockets to federal libraries, and a better way to disseminate the data. Click Here to Sign the PACER Petition.