The Law Is “America’s Operating System”:
Should It Be Open Source?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
“Law.gov” is a proposed system that would provide open access to all primary legal materials in the US (“America’s operating system”). This includes materials from all three branches of government: court opinions, briefs, statutes, regulations, hearings, and more. Currently, there is no equivalent of Google for these documents — in fact, many of them are accessible only through expensive, password protected portals such as Westlaw, LexisNexis, and PACER. Law.gov would open legal materials to the public through a distributed registry and repository. Not only would this provide citizens with invaluable information and promote the goals of transparency and democratic participation, but some have estimated that it could save the federal government $1 billion. At the same time, however, the scale and technological complexity of building such a registry are daunting, and there are serious concerns about privacy, authentication, preservation, and accuracy that must be addressed if it is to succeed.
Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, in collaboration with Public.Resource.Org, held this workshop to examine both the promise and the challenges of this ambitious project.
Registration and Continental Breakfast: 9:30am
MORNING PANEL: 10am–Noon
AFTERNOON PANEL: 1:30pm-3:30pm
Audience discussion and Q&A
Reception to follow