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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

How Much Money Does PACER Make?

PACER Revenues 1995 - 2015 Here’s some solid research by the Free Law Project about Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER). Amazing how much revenue PACER makes each year. That’s a TON of pages downloaded by users of public domain legal information! And they’ve got some ideas for developing a solution to this problem.

In total, that’s $1.2B that PACER has brought in over 21 years, with an average revenue of $60.7M per year. The average for the last five years is more than twice that — $135.2M/year.1 These are remarkable numbers and they point to one of two conclusions. Either PACER is creating a surplus — which is illegal according to the E-Government Act — or PACER is costing $135M/year to run.

Whichever the case, it’s clear that something has gone terribly wrong. If the justice system is turning a profit selling public domain legal documents through its public access system, that’s wrong. If the judicial branch needs $60M/year to run a basic website, that’s gross waste, and that’s wrong too.

Something needs to be done to rein in PACER, and again we ask that public citizens, Congress, journalists, and the courts work to develop a solution.

via How Much Money Does PACER Make? – Free Law Project.

Mashup of US migration patterns

Here’s a nice little mashup from Forbes. They created an interactive map visualizing migration data into and out of US counties based on 2008 IRS data*. The black lines represent people moving to a certain place, the red lines are people moving out. TONS of people moving to SF (where I live). No wonder I have to stand in line so long for my strawberry balsamic ice cream fix from BiRite Creamery!

*I went looking for said IRS migration data and found that:


The County-to-County Migration Data are updated annually and available for purchase as follows:

* $200 per year for the entire United States
* $10 per year per State
* $500 for the entire United States for all years

It’s unfortunate to say the least that IRS feels the need to charge for access to public domain data that the public has already paid for once already. Has anyone come across other data sets like this? please leave us a comment.

[Thanks BoingBoing!]

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