Works by the U.S. government are in the public domain, but not necessarily accessible to the public. Carl Malamud’s public.resource.org has heroically worked to rectify this, and recently announced that 1.8 million pages of federal case law, including all Courts of Appeals decisions from 1950 to the present and all Supreme Court decisions since 1754 would be made available next year:
“The U.S. judiciary has allowed their entire work product to be locked up behind a cash register,” said Carl Malamud, CEO of Public.Resource.Org. “Law is the operating system of our society and today’s agreement means anybody can read the source for a substantial amount of case law that was previously unavailable.”
The cases will be marked with a new Creative Commons mark—CC-Ø—that signals that there are no copyrights or other related rights attached to the content.
CC since its inception has provided a public domain dedication or certification deed and metadata. CC-Ø will extend this functionality, taking into account what we have learned over the past five years. This will be a big project, watch for further news!