PACER in the Spotlight
Two posts on yesterday's beSpacific blog
highlight PACER and the attention recently focused on the for-fee service. The first post directs readers to the PACER spending survey
directed to law libraries related to the law librarians' petition to improve PACER
. The survey respondents included fifty-eight law firm libraries and sixty-six law school libraries. In 2008, the firm libraries spent on average $13,068.48 on PACER while the law school libraries spent on average $656.74 on PACER. The law firms don't usually impose restrictions on PACER use, while the law libraries generally do.
The other beSpacific post reports a draft working paper from Stephen Schultze
at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
at Harvard. The Electronic Public Access Fees and the United States Federal Courts' Budget
study is also related to the fee-generating function of PACER. While the paper is in draft, its purpose is stated as urging "reconsideration of how the Judiciary might more closely align its information management practices with modern technology, practices of the other branches, and public expectations." The draft report summarizes the sometimes varying statements about the uses of PACER revenues, and argues that the policy of government transparency should eliminate PACER fees.