Harvard Law Launches Project To Put Every Court Decision Online For Free
from the nicely-done dept
The cases will be accessible in a searchable format and, along with the texts, they will be presented with visual maps developed by the company, which graphically show the evolution through cases of a judicial concept and how each key decision is cited in others.Ravel is a private company, which is paying for the scanning, but Harvard appears to have structured things in a pretty reasonable manner. Harvard "owns" the resulting data (assuming what's ownable), and while there are some initial restrictions that Ravel can put on the corpus of data, that goes away entirely after eight years, and can end earlier if Ravel "does not meet its obligations." Beyond that, Harvard is making everything available to non-profits and researchers anyway. Ravel is apparently looking to make some money by providing advanced tools for sifting through the database, even if the content itself will be freely available.
All in all, this looks like a useful and worthwhile project -- one that the federal and state governments should have already done on their own, but... Now if we can just open up PACER finally....