As Bloomberg Law imposes caps on PACER access, PACER must support academics.

For years, Bloomberg Law has shared its immense collection of PACER data with academic researchers in subscribing institutions. Bloomberg Law has done so as a standard feature of its subscription service, and would even go purchase documents from PACER if a researcher so requested it. As the director of Free Law Project I have talked to numerous researchers that used this system as a backbone of their legal research. From a researcher’s perspective it was great: Your institution paid an annual fee and in exchange you had access to the PACER information you needed.

Well, it appears those days are coming to an end. Over the past several days, we’ve heard from numerous sources that Bloomberg Law is finally imposing restrictions on how much academics can pull from their system. The restrictions we’ve heard from our sources are:

  1. Individual users can only trigger the purchase of $1,500 worth of PACER content per year.

  2. At most 30% of an institution’s Bloomberg Law subscription fees can be used to purchase PACER data.

In other words, there’s a per-user cap and a per-institution cap.

Putting these numbers in context is difficult. How many documents does $1,500 …

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