Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who's selling your briefs?

Lexis and Westlaw, that's who. Some lawyers are now suing them.

I am more than usually incompetent to discuss the copyright issues involved, but in the course of the thread, I pondered the case of Mississippi appellate briefs. Unlike federal briefs, MS briefs aren't available online from the courts. So how are Westlaw and Lexis getting them?

Presumably from the Miss. Supreme Court itself, whose appellate rule 28(m) requires submission of electronic copies of briefs.

I had thought of this rule as being for the Court's convenience, and perhaps it is. But it's interesting that the Court then gives them—for free?—to online content providers who then sell them to the public.

Yet another reason, IMHO, why briefs should be available online from the Court itself.


  1. Some of them are available on the MC website. Very erratic sampling however. Jane

  2. True, I forgot that. Good point!

    I am more sympathetic to the MSSC than I am re: PACER, because of the horrible funding problems our state judiciary has. Still, I am skeptical how much it would cost to start posting briefs online as they're filed. At the least, the Court should explore the subject.

    Maybe they will do so in their report for 2010, whenever it's released ... or for 2011 ...

  3. As Ben would say: "Forget it, Jake. It's Mississippi."