Victory For Public Access To Court Documents

Free Law Project fights for the public’s right of access to the courts.

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In late September, Free Law Project was named in a sealing order out of the Southern District of New York which would have required us to block access to content from CourtListener. We pushed back against this order, and we’re happy to share that earlier this week, the court reversed course and unsealed the case after we and others raised First Amendment concerns about the order’s interference with the public’s right of access to the courts.

We regularly receive removal requests from litigants. This court order was different: It named Free Law Project and ordered us to remove an entire docket and all its filings that had been publicly available for years. It named search engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing, and ordered them to remove the case from their search results. It even went so far as to order a prominent international law firm to remove a blog post discussing the case.

We also noticed that commercial services …

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Responding to GDPR “Right to Erasure” Requests

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a sweeping new data protection and privacy law out of the EU. One of the things the GDPR includes is the ability of EU citizens to send “Right to Erasure” requests to websites, asking that those websites remove content that might be private. Recently, we received one of these requests from our domain registrar asking that we remove a court document from our database on CourtListener. It appears that this is a growing problem for other legal publishers too, with techdirt doing a write up of the issue late last week:

GDPR is a major development in the regulation of the Internet. It includes protections for individuals and a variety of regulations that apply to service providers like us. When GDPR went into effect, we were easily able to comply with its numerous privacy regulations because we were already being extremely conservative about who we shared data with and how much data we collected (see our privacy policy for details). For us, adopting compatible procedures with the GDPR just meant a few tweaks …

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