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The Blogosphere Weighs in on RECAP

2009 August 14
by recapthelaw

We’re thrilled at the reception RECAP has gotten in its first few hours. Among the notable reactions, Techcrunch discusses the legal issues and concludes that using RECAP doesn’t violate copyright law. RECAP is a hot topic of conversation at Slashdot. CNet also weighed in, highlighting one of the challenges RECAP may face in the coming months:

There are some potential problems. One is that because the RECAP developers plan to make the source code available, it wouldn’t be hard for someone to seed the Internet Archive with “official court documents” that had been modified in some way. (The answer is for users to pay to download important files from PACER, or for the courts to employ digital signatures.)

Techdirt calls RECAP “ingenious”, and concludes that “this is a fantastic idea that hopefully will help to open up public domain court information that has been locked behind PACER’s paywalls for too long.”

Finally, Ars Technica does its usual thorough job of covering RECAP, writing:

The RECAP project could also illuminate potential solutions to the problems that are blocking a more complete PACER overhaul. Despite growing pressure from Congress to reform the PACER system and make data available at no cost, the courts are still reluctant to make major changes to the system because of uncertainty about the cost and the technical challenges of hosting and distributing the data. The RECAP project’s effort to mirror a portion of PACER could help answer those questions and provide a real-world model that demonstrates the viability of open access.

Thanks to everyone for help spreading the word about RECAP. This project can’t succeed without your help.

[Update -- RECAP was also BoingBoing'ed]

6 Responses leave one →
  1. August 16, 2009

    Ladies/Gentlemen–

    Thank you very much. Universities are a primary bastion of many important things.

    Do you anticipate, at some point, of exposing your repository of documents to search engines?

  2. August 16, 2009

    Thank you very much.

  3. Jef permalink
    August 17, 2009

    I imagine you have thought of this (and maybe even are doing it), but you should encourage people who purchase already-available document to upload them to help ensure that the existing documents are legitimate. Not a perfect solution by any means, but it would probably help.

    • August 17, 2009

      Yep, already thought of it. This is part of why we compute SHA1 hashes of all files (eg here). But keep thinking of improvements and feel free to add them to our feedback site.

  4. May 19, 2010

    I imagine you have thought of this (and maybe even are doing it), but you should encourage people who purchase already-available document to upload them to help ensure that the existing documents are legitimate. Not a perfect solution by any means, but it would probably help.

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