The official goals for the non-profit are:
- To provide free, public, and permanent access to primary legal materials on the Internet for educational, charitable, and scientific purposes;
- To develop, implement, and provide public access to technologies useful for legal research;
- To create an open ecosystem for legal research and materials; and
- To support academic research on related technologies, corpora, and legal systems. (via http://freelawproject.org)
Although case law is technically public domain, the legal decisions that interpret and apply statutory law are often scattered across the Internet, locked up in proprietary systems, and only available by paying exorbitant fees. A new non-profit launching this week aims to make these legal materials easily and freely available to all.
School of Information assistant professor Brian Carver and alumnus Michael Lissner (MIMS 2010) founded the Free Law Project to support open access to the law and to develop open-source legal research tools.
Unlike most other legal research services, the Free Law Project is committed to the open-source software movement. Not only can users download CourtListener’s entire collection of legal documents, they can also download all the software that runs the site, and can freely edit or re-use that software.
More information is available at freelawproject.org/about.