POLICY BRIEF: Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Librarianship through State Obscenity Laws

“In 2023-2024, we anticipate that many legislators whose bills failed the last session will reintroduce language in this session and anti-access activists will be inspired to sponsor their own regressive initiatives. The EverLibrary Institute is releasing a new Policy Brief “Opposing Attempts to Criminalize Libraries and Education Through State Obscenity Laws” to help state library associations anticipate this legislation and prepare properly to oppose unnecessary politicized changes to settled state law….”

Supreme Court To Launch Project For Free Digital Access To Verdict Reports

“In another step towards digitalization of the judiciary, the Supreme Court will launch on Monday a project which will provide free access to official law reports of its verdicts to law students, lawyers and the general public.

The Electronic Supreme Court Reports (e-SCR) project will be unveiled on the direction of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud as an initiative to provide the digital version of the court’s judgments in the manner as they are reported in the official law report – ‘Supreme Court Reports’.

A team comprising officials of Judges’ Library and Editorial Section worked tirelessly and within a short span of 15 days, almost 34,013 judgments were split to create a database suitable for meeting the requirements of the search engine developed by the Supreme Court with the NIC, Pune….”

January 6 Clearinghouse

“Welcome to this all-source repository of information for analysts, researchers, investigators, journalists, educators, and the public at large. 

Check out our new addition below: A curated repository of deposition transcripts from the House Select Committee.

Readers may also be interested in Major Highlights of the January 6th Report….”

ELI Joins Collaborative Amici Brief About Access to Public Laws by the Public – EveryLibrary Institute

“The EveryLibrary Institute is proud to join a collaborative amici brief filed by Library Futures alongside the Authors Alliance and Public Knowledge in “American Society for Testing and Materials, et al. v. Public.Resource.Org”, a case currently pending in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Libraries exist in part to provide access to information for the public. This function is even more critical for patrons who need to understand the laws, regulations, and rules by which we are governed. This case highlights the critical role of the library in helping people access the law.

The issue at hand with this case is whether or not the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and its co-plaintiffs can limit access to public laws by the public through the restrictions allowed to a publisher or IP holder through the exercise of copyright law. Fundamentally, is it within the right of ATSM to claim ownership of public laws through the publishing process? As we state in the brief, “With the backing of the incredibly strong bundle of exclusive rights that copyright law provides, ASTM is able to impose such restrictions on users with the knowledge that those users have no choice but to agree [to a privacy policy and terms of service], given that they have no alternative pathways through Public Resource, or through libraries. ASTM’s exercise of these rights and its version of free access stands in stark contrast to the protected and careful means through which libraries provide access to researchers and other users of legal information.”…”

No free PACER as U.S. lawmakers exclude proposal from spending bill | Reuters

“The Open Courts Act would make electronic court records freely available and mandate the judiciary to develop a new website to access them. It had already advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote in December 2021….

Despite the committee’s endorsement and fact that the U.S. House of Representatives passed similar bill to make PACER free in the prior Congress in 2020, the legislation had lingered as the federal judiciary raised concerns about funding….


But the PACER bill was ultimately left out of the 4,155-page omnibus spending measure that Democratic and Republican negotiators released on Tuesday morning, leaving its path to passage in the current Congress unlikely….”

Further action toward valid science in Law and Human Behavior: Requiring open data, analytic code, and research materials.

“Beginning on March 1, 2023, Law and Human Behavior will raise its standard for data reporting and expand its focus to include analytic code and research materials. Adopting the recommended language from the TOP Guidelines (Nosek et al., 2015b), the journal will publish articles only if the data, analytic code, and research materials are clearly and precisely documented and are fully available to any researcher who wishes to reproduce the results or replicate the procedure.

Accordingly, authors using original data who seek to publish their research in the journal must make the following items publicly available: …


Authors reusing data from public repositories who pursue publication in Law and Human Behavior must provide program code, scripts for statistical packages, and other documentation sufficient to allow an informed researcher to precisely reproduce all published results….”


The “Free PACER” Bill Has a New CBO Score. The Bill Actually Reduces the Deficit. | Fix the Court

“That’s not a typo — a revised CBO score for the Open Courts Act has appeared (at least one did in Fix the Court’s inbox), and the bill now reduces the deficit by $14 million over 10 years. That’s incredible!

And yet, the judiciary is once again trying to kill the bill, this time by maintaining that without PACER fees, the judiciary’s IT infrastructure will lack necessary funding.

A few congressional appropriators seem to be buying this (for now), but the simple solution, which we’re confident lawmakers will realize, is that the judiciary should ask for money for its IT costs like every other part of the government — and not rely on a system that multiple courts have deemed illegal in part….”

Free PACER Would Pretty Much Be Free, Says CBO, Undercutting Federal Judiciary’s Ridiculous $2 Billion Estimate

For years, attempts have been made to make access to federal court records free. To date, not one of these efforts have been successful. The federal judiciary likes its antiquated cash cow, raking in PACER fees meant to improve and free up (as in “free”) document access and redistributing the profit amongst itself, (illegally) blowing […]

Sarah Lamdan Discusses her New Book, Data Cartels: The Companies that Control and Monopolize Our Information – SPARC

“The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was building an invasive data surveillance system and journalists reported that Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis were interested in participating. She quickly realized that those were the parent companies of the gold-standard legal databases, Westlaw and Lexis, that Lamdan regularly taught students to use.

“I was really startled and confused because I didn’t understand how Lexis and Westlaw would be doing ICE surveillance,” said Lamdan, who wondered about the potential impact on the campus’ immigrant population and her role as a librarian in giving away data.

Lamdan and a colleague wrote a blog for the American Association of Law Libraries raising questions. However, within minutes, at the “advice of legal counsel,” the post was removed, Lamden said. She didn’t know why they were not allowed to raise the issue, and her quest for answers began….

Joseph said the broader community can break its dependency on these companies by expanding open access and creating an infrastructure that does not rely on commercial enterprises for information. Approaching knowledge as a public good, rather than a private commodity, can also shift the framework for how information is disseminated.”

2022 Shulenburger Award | Libraries

“KU Libraries have granted the 2022 David Shulenburger Award for Innovation & Advocacy in Scholarly Communication to two recipients: Dr. Shannon O’Lear, director of KU’s Environment Studies Program; and Corey Rayburn Yung, KU School of Law research professor.

The announcement coincides with KU Libraries’ celebration of International Open Access Week, which is Oct. 24-30. The recipients will be honored at a later date….”

Journal of Medical Internet Research – A Study of Publicly Available Resources Addressing Legal Data-Sharing Barriers: Systematic Assessment

Abstract:  Background:

United States data protection laws vary depending on the data type and its context. Data projects involving social determinants of health often concern different data protection laws, making them difficult to navigate.

Objective:We systematically aggregated and assessed useful online resources to help navigate the data-sharing landscape.

Methods:We included publicly available resources that discussed legal data-sharing issues with some health relevance and published between 2010 and 2019. We conducted an iterative search with a common string pattern using a general-purpose search engine that targeted 24 different sectors identified by Data Across Sectors for Health. We scored each online resource for its depth of legal and data-sharing discussions and value for addressing legal barriers.

Results:Out of 3710 total search hits, 2721 unique URLs were reviewed for scope, 322 received full-text review, and 154 were selected for final coding. Legal agreements, consent, and agency guidance were the most widely covered legal topics, with HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 2 being the top 3 federal laws discussed. Clinical health care was the most prominent sector with a mention in 73 resources.

Conclusions:This is the first systematic study of publicly available resources on legal data-sharing issues. We found existing gaps where resources covering certain laws or applications may be needed. The volume of resources we found is an indicator that real and perceived legal issues are a substantial barrier to efforts in leveraging data from different sectors to promote health.

[2208.06178] Mining Legal Arguments in Court Decisions

Abstract:  Identifying, classifying, and analyzing arguments in legal discourse has been a prominent area of research since the inception of the argument mining field. However, there has been a major discrepancy between the way natural language processing (NLP) researchers model and annotate arguments in court decisions and the way legal experts understand and analyze legal argumentation. While computational approaches typically simplify arguments into generic premises and claims, arguments in legal research usually exhibit a rich typology that is important for gaining insights into the particular case and applications of law in general. We address this problem and make several substantial contributions to move the field forward. First, we design a new annotation scheme for legal arguments in proceedings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that is deeply rooted in the theory and practice of legal argumentation research. Second, we compile and annotate a large corpus of 373 court decisions (2.3M tokens and 15k annotated argument spans). Finally, we train an argument mining model that outperforms state-of-the-art models in the legal NLP domain and provide a thorough expert-based evaluation. All datasets and source codes are available under open lincenses at this https URL.


Introducing archive@recap.email: The New Way to RECAP | Free Law Project | Making the legal ecosystem more equitable and competitive.

“For over a decade, the RECAP Extensions have liberated documents from the PACER system. One by one, our users have sent us millions of documents, which we have built into one of the largest open databases of federal court filings in the country.

While this system works well, sometimes it didn’t feel like enough. Lawyers and litigants get notification emails from PACER that contain links to download PACER documents for free. Why weren’t we getting those documents too?

Well, today we take the first step in changing that.

Starting today, litigants and lawyers that receive PACER notification emails can add the following email address to their account:


Once that email is added to your PACER account, we will get the same notifications you do (yours will be unchanged). When we get the notification, we’ll download the available PDF and add it to our system. It’s that simple. You add it once, we RECAP all your notifications going forward….”

Scholarly Communications and Open Access Librarian, Biddle Law Library (Hybrid Eligible)

“Reporting to the Associate Director for Scholarly Data and Innovation, the Scholarly Communications and Open Access Librarian will serve a critical role in supporting and enhancing the prolific scholarship of the Penn Carey Law faculty. This position oversees digital publication of the intellectual output of the law school on multiple online platforms. The librarian will develop a communication and training plan to counsel and educate faculty and students on topics including: best practices in preparing and submitting scholarship for publication, the benefits of open access publishing, strategies for promoting and publicizing published works, and updating and curating online faculty profiles….”