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All U.S. Supreme Court and appeals court decisions since 1950 �� the equivalent of 1,858 volumes of case law �� have been posted on a Web site created by Creative Commons and Public.Resource.Org, two nonprofit organizations devoted to creating a “legal commons.” Carl Malamud, founder of Public.Resource.Org, said the federal courts have posted decisions online dating to 1995, but earlier cases have been accessible electronically only through paid services often unaffordable to the public, solo practitioners, small law firms and even many government attorneys. “I know an assistant DA who doesn’t have access to the legal research he needs because it costs too much,” Malamud said. “The law is based on precedent and you need the appellate decisions at least back to 1950. Back to 1995 is not good enough.” According to the two nonprofits, the AltLaw service from Columbia Law School and the University of Colorado School of Law will incorporate the information in their free research service. Creative Commons and Public.Resource.Org are donating a copy of the data to the U.S. Courts and the Government Printing Office. The compiled cases are being indexed by Google, Malamud said, but the organizations expect to soon have more effective search tools. “We are encouraging a new generation of people developing legal web sites,” he said. “We are not the only ones interested in putting free case law online. There is a real movement.” The documents are available online.

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