The Columbia Law School and the University of Colorado Law School have launched AltLaw.org.
Here's a quote from the press release:
AltLaw.org contains nearly 170,000 decisions dating back to the early 1990s from the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Appellate courts. The site’s creators, Columbia Law School’s Timothy Wu and Stuart Sierra, and University of Colorado Law School’s Paul Ohm, said the site’s database will grow over time. . . .
Wu said he envisions AltLaw.org being used by many groups—journalists, the public, lawyers who want to avoid the hundreds of dollars per hour in fees for proprietary law databases, and legal scholars who need quick and searchable access to cases at home or on the road. One of the assets to AltLaw.org’s design is that it is fast and simple to use, Wu said.
Ohm wrote the thousands of lines of code that download cases to AltLaw.org from more than a dozen court websites each night. He said the data comes from the courts themselves, and AltLaw.org is designed as an extremely open platform so that others can take the raw material and use it in various ways.
"This is what we call the 'law commons' part of the design," Ohm said. "The touchstone of AltLaw.org is openness, and this means that not only will users be able to search cases, but they'll also be able to make copies of all of the cases in our database to reuse or remix in any way that they'd like."