700 GB of PACER Documents Now Available Online

A few weeks ago, we posted about PublicResource.org and its effort to gather and post federal court records online via the federal PACER system.  The organization has made nearly 20 million pages of federal court documents available online here.  This is a good resource for database programmers who should heed the advice laid out in the Readme file posted with the collection:

  • "These documents are distributed under a MORAL LICENSE.
  • "If you build a site using PACER documents, you should do so with a sense of responsibility.  In particular, you must maintain your archive or take it offline, and you must provide a feedback channel where the public may contact you if there are issues, such as Social Security numbers, names of minor children, or other violations by the filing attorneys of the E-Government Act.  When you do find problems, you have an obligation to let the clerks of the courts know.
  • "While it is the responsibility of the courts to obey the privacy requirements, if you redistribute this data you have a moral obligation to help the courts make this data better.
  • "This is not the law, this is just the right thing to do."