A few weeks ago, we posted a story about GAO selling exclusive access to GAO legislative histories to Thomson West (see “GAO *did* sell exclusive access to legislative history to Thomson West” and GAO subject for all GAO stories). This was a rich historical chunk of GAO information (20,597 legislative histories of most public laws from 1915-1995!!) and it was set to be locked up with T/W claiming exclusive rights and licensing access.
Well, not so fast. Carl Malamud, tireless hero of the public domain, got wind of the deal, and got the GAO to release 10 DVDs of legislative histories, containing 619,481 PDF files — the pilot project scans they conducted. He has proposed a joint venture with the Internet Archive to scan the same materials with the same terms as Thomson West, give GAO one full copy of all their data AND put up the data online (presumably the Internet Archive) clearly marked as public domain material available for reuse without restriction. And what’s more, Carl says, “If they say yes, we intend to ask Congress to earmark funds to pay the Internet Archive to scan this invaluable resource.” !!
You can follow the paper trail on Carl’s Federal Legislative History site. Below is the letter of unsolicited joint venture sent to GAO. Way to go Carl!!
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