Published in Forbes
Currently, the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts offers electronic access to federal court records through its web site, PACER, for a fee. The Free Law Project collects court data and makes it available at no charge to the public through its free legal research web site, Court Listener, which contains an estimated 6.2 million PACER documents.
It costs the federal government next to nothing to download court data through PACER but the federal government charges users 10 cents a page. This adds up to big bucks – at least $145 million a year – for court records that ostensibly belong to the public. The outsized PACER user fees are currently the subject of a class action lawsuit filed by the National Veterans Legal Services Program, National Consumer Law Center and the Alliance for Justice.