Today’s New York Times features an article on Carl Malamud’s latest fight to keep the ‘operating system’ of America freely available. The article, “An Effort to Upgrade a Court Archive System to Free and Easy,” by John Schwartz explains:
“So, using $600,000 in contributions in 2008, he bought a 50-year archive of papers from the federal appellate courts and placed them online. By this year, he was ready to take on the larger database of district courts. Those courts, with the help of the Government Printing Office, had opened a free trial of Pacer at 17 libraries around the country. Mr. Malamud urged fellow activists to go to those libraries, download as many court documents as they could, and send them to him for republication on the Web, where Google could get to them.”
What happened next? The free PACER pilot had been suspended and “a Government Printing Office official, Richard G. Davis, told librarians that “the security of the Pacer service was compromised. The F.B.I. is conducting an investigation.”
We’ll keep you posted on what follows…but it will be interesting to see what role librarians play in this fight going forward and how the new administration responds, too.