Ending our PACER Drainage Initiative and Stopping our Email Lists

Michael Lissner

We at Free Law Project have been working towards our goals for a few years now, and as a result we've accumulated a bit of cruft. Today, we shed just a bit of it, as we simultaneously end one of our smaller projects and deprecate our list server.

The project we are ending is our PACER Drainage project. The idea of the project was to put pressure on PACER by having lots of people use their $15 fee waiver to download PACER content to the RECAP archive.

The main reason we're ending this project is because PACER is vast, and we never got the kind of uptake we needed for this program to be successful. We knew that we'd never make a big impact on PACER unless thousands of people started using their fee waivers to download content, but we went ahead with this project anyway for two reasons. First, we wanted to be part of the effort last year to apply pressure to PACER, and second, we wanted to raise awareness about the PACER issue via a direct call to action.

While I don't think we succeeded in applying the pressure we wanted (the AO is hard to influence), I do think we raised awareness about the issue by liberating a number of documents from PACER. We appreciate the efforts of those of you that participated to liberate this content and apply this pressure. These are good things we should be happy about.

The second thing we're winding down today is our mailman list server, which powered our Juriscraper, PACER Drainage, and Developers email lists. Most of these lists were low traffic, and were used for developers only, so this should not have a huge impact. These days we are using Slack for this purpose anyway. If you are interested in contributing to Free Law Project, send us a note and we'll get you set up.

Thank you for all of your efforts and for being a part of our work!

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