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Message 00835: Fwd: PlainSite Update

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Aaron Greenspan <xxxxxxx@plainsite.org>
Date: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 4:10 AM
Subject: PlainSite Update
To: Lawrence Lessig <xxxxxxx@pobox.com>, Jonathan Zittrain
<xxxxxxx@law.harvard.edu>, Harry Lewis <xxxxxxx@seas.harvard.edu>,
Benjamin Edelman <xxxxxxx@hbs.edu>, Aaron Swartz <me@aaronsw.com>
Cc: Sabeel Rahman <xxxxxxx@fas.harvard.edu>, Eric Teasley
<xxxxxxx@stanford.edu>, Ying Lei <xxxxxxx@stanford.edu>

Hi there,

I hope you're all well and that the new year has been a good one so
far. I just wanted to let you know of some new developments as far as
PlainSite goes.

A while ago I stumbled across the PACER data that Aaron Swartz
liberated in 2008 and was shocked to find it sitting only in
compressed tarball format on Carl Malamud's servers. Princeton has
done some interesting work with it under Ed Felten via RECAP, but
basically the data isn't that much more accessible, at least by search
engine, than it was three years ago.

As you may remember, FaceCash is no longer operational due to the
California Money Transmission Act, but the codebase still works, and
an integral part of the system for both money transmission and
anti-fraud purposes is the ability to track legal entities separate
from people. This basically means I have a decent database of
companies, and I decided to put it to good use with PlainSite.

Aaron's PACER data is now available on PlainSite, in a way such that
each case is cross-referenced with the laws that it's about, the
lawyers representing the parties, the parties themselves (working on
this, big companies are easier), the judges presiding, and the PDF
documents in the docket. I also have just-now-working code that should
allow users to add their own cases just by uploading the history file
and summary from PACER.

We're also planning to link companies to PlainSite issues (problems
and solutions), each other (lobbying groups and PACs with
indecipherable names), donations, and politicians. I also think it
would be neat to analyze how often judges rule for certain types of

The URL is http://www.plainsite.org, but here are some example pages
to give you an idea:

The FaceCash lawsuit: http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/case.html?id=716056
Judge Lloyd: http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/judge.html?id=126
Apple, Inc.: http://www.plainsite.org/flashlight/index.html?id=3404
One of Microsoft's lawyers:

If you have any thoughts, feedback would be great to hear.

All the best,