I wrote yesterday about RECAP, an exciting project to collect documents from PACER and serve them up for free to the public, through a Firefox extension. At about that same time, a small controversy over RECAP began brewing. Eric Turkewitz, at New York Personal Injury Law Blog, reported on the controversy, saying, "Federal courts around the country are now sending out notices to litigants about the dangers of a computer program called RECAP, which if downloaded will automatically take documents that you purchase from the court's PACER system and place them into a free, publicly available database." See Blog Post. Carolyn Elefant, at Legal Blog Watch, covered this story as well, observing, "Though RECAP doesn't appear to violate any of PACER's terms and conditions of use, some federal courts are warning lawyers who have installed RECAP to exercise caution in use." In her post, she reported on Paul Alan Levy's comments that the District Court warning "is not a genuine security warning, but an attempt to intimidate users from installing RECAP. After all, as more federal court documents become accessible at no cost, the federal court system will lose revenues."
But before I could report on this controversy, it appears to have subsided. Consumer Law & Policy Blog is now reporting that Deputy Chief for IT Policy and Budget at the Administrative Office of the United States courts has no problem with the use of RECAP.