Red Hat Center's $100K Grant Funds Free Public Access to Legal Information at Cornell's Legal Information Institute

Nov 28, 2000, 00:00 ET from Red Hat Center

    DURHAM, N.C. and ITHACA, N.Y., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Hat Center, a
 non-profit foundation that supports the growth of a healthy and robust
 information commons and public domain, announces today a gift in the amount of
 $100,000 to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute (LII) to fund key
 improvements to LII's web site, which provides free public access to U.S. laws
 and court decisions.  The grant enables LII to write software that will let
 web users read any portion of the U.S. Code as it was in effect at particular
 points in time.
     "We are gratified at the Center's recognition of our institute's
 commitment to free and effective public access to legal information," said
 Cornell law professor Peter W. Martin, co-director of the Legal Information
 Institute.  "Through this grant we shall be able to realize major improvements
 in providing free public access to the United States Code -- the compilation
 of federal statutes that lays down fundamental law on topics ranging from
 immigration to federal elections, from fair labor standards to copyright and
 environmental protection.  Co-director Tom Bruce and I are enormously excited
 by the improvements this grant from the Red Hat Center will make possible.
 The Code is already the most heavily used legal resource at the LII site
 (http://lii.law.cornell.edu ).  These improvements will provide users more
 flexible access to its provisions and enable them to see and pursue
 connections between the Code's provisions and related legal documents.  Our
 conviction is that this will demonstrate even more forcefully what open access
 to law can mean."
     Public access to current legal information in the public domain has been
 limited by the high costs of older publishing methods.  LII's online U.S. Code
 is a model of open architecture that allows free and direct public access to
 quality legal information organized in a searchable way.  The improvements
 funded by Red Hat Center will allow users to extract large ranges of sections
 in formats suitable for use on PCs, personal digital devices, or printers, and
 will permit linking the Code to relevant court cases, regulations, and
 explanatory material.
     "The Cornell law web site was one of the first sites providing ordinary
 citizens with online access to the real text of laws and court decisions.  I'd
 gotten tired of reading press accounts of what the law said, and tired of
 digging in paper law libraries.  I'm proud that Red Hat Center is helping LII
 improve the public's understanding of the law," said John Gilmore, Red Hat
 Center board member, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
     "Cornell's LII has been a leader in making law open source from the early
 days of the Internet.  Red Hat Center is right to support the expansion of
 LII's project, to better enable it to provide access to legal materials on a
 free and open basis," stated Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford
 University and Red Hat Center board member.
 
     About the Legal Information Institute (LII)
     Launched in 1992, the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School
 has led the movement to improve public access to law in the U.S. by placing
 key legal materials on the Internet in non-proprietary format, structured in
 ways that facilitate unrestricted reuse by others.  LII receives more than
 8 million hits a week.  More than 90,000 web pages link to LII, including
 those of the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives, and it has
 been cited as a resource in more than 500 newspapers and magazines.  See
 http://lii.law.cornell.edu .
 
     About Red Hat Center
     Red Hat Center is a non-profit foundation that supports the growth of a
 healthy and robust information commons and public domain, through grants,
 programs, and partnerships in the areas of law, medicine, education, media,
 technology, academic research, and the arts.  Red Hat Center's purpose is to
 stimulate discussion around, and to raise awareness of, information freely
 available to the public within the Information Commons.  Located in North
 Carolina's Research Triangle Park, Red Hat Center is a private foundation
 endowed by Bob Young and Mark Ewing, the founders of Red Hat, Inc.  For more
 information about Red Hat Center visit www.rhcenter.org.
 
     Press Contacts:
     Tawnya Louder-Reynolds
     Red Hat Center
     P: 919.549.8388 x230
     E: tawnya@rhcenter.org
 
     Linda Myers
     Cornell University News Service
     P: 607.255.9735
     E: lbm3@cornell.edu
 
 

SOURCE Red Hat Center
    DURHAM, N.C. and ITHACA, N.Y., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Red Hat Center, a
 non-profit foundation that supports the growth of a healthy and robust
 information commons and public domain, announces today a gift in the amount of
 $100,000 to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute (LII) to fund key
 improvements to LII's web site, which provides free public access to U.S. laws
 and court decisions.  The grant enables LII to write software that will let
 web users read any portion of the U.S. Code as it was in effect at particular
 points in time.
     "We are gratified at the Center's recognition of our institute's
 commitment to free and effective public access to legal information," said
 Cornell law professor Peter W. Martin, co-director of the Legal Information
 Institute.  "Through this grant we shall be able to realize major improvements
 in providing free public access to the United States Code -- the compilation
 of federal statutes that lays down fundamental law on topics ranging from
 immigration to federal elections, from fair labor standards to copyright and
 environmental protection.  Co-director Tom Bruce and I are enormously excited
 by the improvements this grant from the Red Hat Center will make possible.
 The Code is already the most heavily used legal resource at the LII site
 (http://lii.law.cornell.edu ).  These improvements will provide users more
 flexible access to its provisions and enable them to see and pursue
 connections between the Code's provisions and related legal documents.  Our
 conviction is that this will demonstrate even more forcefully what open access
 to law can mean."
     Public access to current legal information in the public domain has been
 limited by the high costs of older publishing methods.  LII's online U.S. Code
 is a model of open architecture that allows free and direct public access to
 quality legal information organized in a searchable way.  The improvements
 funded by Red Hat Center will allow users to extract large ranges of sections
 in formats suitable for use on PCs, personal digital devices, or printers, and
 will permit linking the Code to relevant court cases, regulations, and
 explanatory material.
     "The Cornell law web site was one of the first sites providing ordinary
 citizens with online access to the real text of laws and court decisions.  I'd
 gotten tired of reading press accounts of what the law said, and tired of
 digging in paper law libraries.  I'm proud that Red Hat Center is helping LII
 improve the public's understanding of the law," said John Gilmore, Red Hat
 Center board member, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
     "Cornell's LII has been a leader in making law open source from the early
 days of the Internet.  Red Hat Center is right to support the expansion of
 LII's project, to better enable it to provide access to legal materials on a
 free and open basis," stated Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford
 University and Red Hat Center board member.
 
     About the Legal Information Institute (LII)
     Launched in 1992, the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School
 has led the movement to improve public access to law in the U.S. by placing
 key legal materials on the Internet in non-proprietary format, structured in
 ways that facilitate unrestricted reuse by others.  LII receives more than
 8 million hits a week.  More than 90,000 web pages link to LII, including
 those of the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives, and it has
 been cited as a resource in more than 500 newspapers and magazines.  See
 http://lii.law.cornell.edu .
 
     About Red Hat Center
     Red Hat Center is a non-profit foundation that supports the growth of a
 healthy and robust information commons and public domain, through grants,
 programs, and partnerships in the areas of law, medicine, education, media,
 technology, academic research, and the arts.  Red Hat Center's purpose is to
 stimulate discussion around, and to raise awareness of, information freely
 available to the public within the Information Commons.  Located in North
 Carolina's Research Triangle Park, Red Hat Center is a private foundation
 endowed by Bob Young and Mark Ewing, the founders of Red Hat, Inc.  For more
 information about Red Hat Center visit www.rhcenter.org.
 
     Press Contacts:
     Tawnya Louder-Reynolds
     Red Hat Center
     P: 919.549.8388 x230
     E: tawnya@rhcenter.org
 
     Linda Myers
     Cornell University News Service
     P: 607.255.9735
     E: lbm3@cornell.edu
 
 SOURCE  Red Hat Center