Vive la Revolution & America’s Operating System

Earlier today, (imho) there was a trending-topic-in-the-making on Twitter — all of these tweets had two things in common: the phrase “Open Source the Law” and thanks to Public.Resource.Org and BoingBoing.  

Why?

Well, BoingBoing recently posted about the latest effort by Carl Malamud and Public.Resource.org to liberate “America’s operating system.” 

As Cory Doctorow summarizes, these “actions taken together are trying to establish a basic principle: the laws of our society need to be readily available for all to read, not locked behind a cash register.” 

What did Carl Malamud do? 

Malamud mailed off three letters (on Bastille Day) to the government asking for change.  The first letter was a request to the Executive Office of the President to make the Federal Register and Patent databases available for free in bulk;  the second letter was a FOIA request to the National Archives asking them to make the many pricey ANSI and UL standards that are ‘incorporated by reference’ (in the CFR) available for free; and the third letter (perhaps my favorite) is a request for a refund for the $17K spent on a defective bulk feed of the CFR. [To see the list of all these letters, plus earlier letters, visit public.resource.org’s GPO page.]

[P.S.  If these letters have got your heart beating a bit faster, perhaps you might be interested in signing the petition to improve PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records).]

This entry was posted in Access to information, Government information, Malamud and tagged , , , by Erika Wayne. Bookmark the permalink.

About Erika Wayne

Erika V. Wayne is deputy library director and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School. Along with George Wilson, Kate Wilko and Paul Lomio, Erika Wayne has co-taught Advanced Legal Research for 3 years. Erika's interest in Open Access dates back to the 1996 when she helped in the development of the Securities Class Action Clearinghouse -- the first court designated internet site for public posting of securities litigation filings. And, she hates to pay for *anything* that should be free. She has a law degree from Penn and a library degree from Illinois.

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